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Hamtramck community space Bank Suey to host local marketplace

Bank Suey, a community space in Hamtramck, has hosted a number of creative events in its brief history. We're really excited about this latest one.

Dubbed "Shop Suey," Bank Suey will be hosting its first local marketplace. There will be clothes, jewelry, housewares, and plenty of food and drink for sale. 

Bank Suey is a flexible event space. Previously, it's hosted musical shows, art exhibits, speeches and discussions, and various popups. 

Shop Suey takes place on March 11, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at corner of Joseph Campau and Caniff. For more information on vendors, check out the Facebook event page

National sports publication writes about DCFC's colorful fans

There's no doubt about the enthusiasm of fans for Detroit City FC. That's especially true after reading a recent article in SB Nation detailing the rabid fan base of the minor league soccer club that plays out of Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck.

Part of that enthusiasm comes from something most professional teams lack—"a soccer movement that is also intrinsically tied to something bigger than just sport: building community," writes Liana Aghajanian. They've become embedded in their new home of Hamtramck and built goodwill with local residents.

The article also details a rally born out of frustration at the announcement of a possible Major League Soccer team in Detroit that took place between fans of DCFC and F.C. United—"a semi-professional team born out of frustration with the commercialization of English football owned and run by its 5,381 members"—based out of Manchester, England.

There's colorful descriptions of "Le Rouge," a nickname for DCFC and their fans, throughout the article, as well as figures like this: "This year, in addition to 15,000 people live streaming the event, more than 7,000 attended their opening match—a figure that some teams in higher leagues like the United Soccer League and the North American Soccer League fail to draw."

Click here to read the article in full.

Hatch Art launches fundraiser to save Hamtramck Disneyland

The Hamtramck art collective Hatch Art, using the local crowdfunding platform Patronicity, has launched a fundraiser to help save Hamtramck Disneyland, the famous folk-art site started in the backyard of Ukrainian immigrant Dmytro Szylak.

Syzlak immigrated from Ukraine to Hamtramck with his wife in the 1950s. For the last 30 years of his life, he constructed and renovated the whimsical, vivid artwork that contains tributes to his new and past home countries.

Syzlak passed away last year, and his estate sold the artwork to Hatch Art in May 2016.

If they reach their goal of $50,000, Hatch Art will, according to the fundraiser, "repair and maintain the outdoor, site-specific folk art installation as well as establish an artist's residency program and gallery space."

The installation hasn't been properly cared for in some time and is indeed in need of numerous upgrades. "The garages that support the art suffer from rotten roofs and sagging structures," reads the fundraiser. "Much of the art is weathered, falling apart and in need of immediate attention to be saved."

The "Save Hamtramck Disneyland" fundraiser ends August 20. 

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. 

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. 

Sick of potholes, Hamtramckans take to the streets with shovels and cold patch

Michigan's roads are in bad -- frankly deplorable -- shape. And thanks to budget cuts, inaction by the state legislature, and voters' unwillingness to approve a tax hike to pay for repairs, our surfaces streets are going to continue to deteriorate for the foreseeable future.
But in Hamtramck, a group of residents fed up with the status quo have decided to take matters – and shovels – into their own hands to improve road conditions in their community.
According to Dustin Block of MLive Detroit, "a group of six residents purchased 900 pounds of cold pack and spent the morning filling potholes along Lumpkin Street" on Saturday, July 25. The group hopes to raise $5,000 via a Go Fund Me campaign to pay for additional materials to fix other Hamtramck streets.
Read more: MLive Detroit

Porous Borders Festival seeks artists to engage with the Detroit/Hamtramck border

Over the weekend of May 16-17, a unique, inter-jurisdictional performing arts festival will take place along every segment of the border that separates the cities of Detroit and Hamtramck, as well as the sliver of border that separates Highland Park and Hamtramck. The event is called the Porous Borders Festival and is being curated by Detroit dance ensemble The Hinterlands, who are currently accepting proposals for art installations and happenings that will take place along the border during the festival.
According to a press release, The Hinterlands is seeking "creative pieces and projects that a) reflect and engage the diverse experiences of those living along the HAM/DET border, b) address the geographic reality of the HAM/DET border, and c) examine the nature of borders themselves…Each piece should be created for a specific part of the border."
The curators are open-minded when it comes to the type of proposals they will accept, saying, "It does not need to be an installation, but could be a walking tour, a performance, a party, a dinner, an automobile ballet, a story share – we’re excited to hear your ideas!"
Applicants must submit a one-page description of their project that includes:
 – What the project will be
 – Which segment of the border it is designed for
 – How the project relates to that segment
 – The duration of the project (i.e. one day, two hours, the whole festival, etc.)
 – A basic materials budget
 – Optional: short CV or bio
These materials can be sent digitally to pbf@thehinterlandsensemble.org or by mail to Porous Borders Festival, 3346 Lawley St, Detroit, MI 48212
Applications are due Jan. 31.
For more information, visit http://thehinterlandsensemble.org/project/porous-borders-festival/

How Detroit grew around Hamtramck and Highland Park

If you have studied a political map of Detroit, you've probably wondered how the city ended up with two separate cities inside of it. Thankfully, WDET has explained how the cities of Hamtramck and Highland park came to be surrounded by the city of Detroit.

According to WDET:
As Detroit’s population grew, so did its landmass thanks to annexation. Surrounding townships didn’t have a local government and only existed for election and property tax purposes. So cities could easily swallow up them up. By 1891, Detroit had annexed its way to the modern day southern borders of Hamtramck and Highland Park. 

An encroaching Detroit spurred the areas to take action. And to strengthen local government, Highland Park incorporated as a village in 1889 and Hamtramck two years later.

When the state of Michigan passed the Home Rule Cities Act in 1908, Hamtramck and Highland Park were able to incorporate themselves as cities, thus protecting the economic interests that had grown within their borders.
By the time the Home Rule Cities Act was introduced, Henry Ford had already purchased land in Highland Park to build his Model T complex. The Dodge Brothers were two years away from opening the Dodge Main in Hamtramck. And as 1915 rolls around, Detroit started moving north again, annexing more and more of Greenfield and Hamtramck townships. Within a year, Detroit had completely surrounded the villages. 
At around the same time, the two villages exploded in population, thanks to the auto industry. This growth was enticing to Detroit. There had been formal attempts by Detroit to annex Highland Park and Hamtramck after 1908 but they failed to even make it to a vote. Why? Lupher says the answer is simple. Corporate power.
Read more about the origins of Hamtramck and Highland Park at WDET.org.

Got what it takes to make a whizbang website for Hamtramck?

The city of Hamtramck, Michigan's densest city, is requesting quotes for the redevelopment of its website.

According to an Request for Quotes, "The City of Hamtramck seeks qualified vendors to provide professional Internet web site design, development and implementation services for the redesign of the Cities [sic] current Website located at http://www.hamtramckcity.com. The city is seeking a redesigned modern work product with an enhanced graphic identity, value added features to provide capabilities and functions not currently available and capabilities to encompass emerging technologies such as GIS and streaming video for future enhancement.

Quotes must be submitted to:

City of Hamtramck
Clerk’s Office
3401 Evaline
Hamtramck, Michigan 48212

Quotes are due by September 23, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

Local governments in metro Detroit don't have a great track record of building great websites -- anyone who's spent time on Detroit or Hamtramck's sites can attest to that. This is an opportunity to help a local government enter the 21st century.

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative intern to live in city's first shipping container house

A lucky intern at the nonprofit Michigan Urban Farming Initiative will become the first person to inhabit a house made from a shipping container, reports the Detroit News.

The container is currently being converted into occupiable housing in the parking lot of General Motor’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant. Once completed, it will be moved to Michigan Urban Farming Initiative's headquarters on Brush Street in New Center.

The nonprofit purchased the container for $3,000, but estimates that it will cost between $20,000 and $25,000 to convert it into a home. According the News, "Local GM workers will volunteer to convert the container into a home and 85 percent of the materials will be scrap from local GM plants."

Read more in the Detroit News.

Good Tyme Writers' Buffet returns to Hamtramck's Public Pool

How many times do you lie in a day, in a month, in a year? Is a lie the opposite of truth or simply the absence of truth? It’s safe to say that literature is a vast collection of lies, and writers are absolutely the very best liars. 

Bullshit or not, on April 19 at Public Pool in Hamtramck (3309 Caniff), six writers will potluck, neighborhood-style, and read short works on the subject of LIES. 

Martin Anand will DJ

Come potluck with us. Talk, Drink, Eat, Listen. 

Readers include:

Maia Asshaq
Hillary Cherry
Lolita Hernandez
Steve Hughes
Mark Maynard
Chris Tysh

Learn more here.

Hell yeah, Hamtramck!

Blowing up this week on Facebook, this gem of a list features many of our favorite Hamtown spots, including the underrated Krakus Polish restaraunt (people, just go; it's actiually in Detroit, just north of the Hamtramck city limits), Recycled Treasures, B&H Bar & Grill (one of two Bosnian-owned food businesses on Caniff), Planet Ant Theatre, Srodek's Quality Sausage (ask for the blood sausage, called kieska in Polish), Lo & Behold and Public Pool. Oh, hell, here are the other gems in the story: Hamtramck Disneyland, St. Florian Church, New Palace Bakery and the Detroit Zen Center. That makes 10. All great.

Read all about it here.

Move to Hamtramck real estate site launches

We think all Detroit neighborhoods should have a "Move to" inititiative and it looks like some enterprising folks in Hamtramck have the exact same idea. Why not create an online forum where people can find houses, apartments, buildings and businesses for sale or rent? Why not, indeed.

Hamtown has urban assets aplenty, incuding food, art, music, walkable neighborhoods, ethnic diversity and affordability -- with bike lane connectivity to Eastern Market, Midtown and the Riverfront coming soon. 

Check it out on Facebook and Twitter.

Martin Anand's 'Big Happy Lie Did Not Come True'' opens at Public Pool

Since moving to Detroit from Dusseldorf in the 1990s, Martin Anand has been a contributor to the electronic music community as a producer, promoter, independent label owner, artist and DJ. Anand has also contributed to Detroit's art, literary and food scenes as an abstract expressionist painter, writer, critical theorist, marathon conversationalist, vegan sandwich maker and juicer. 

The unconventional, multi-layered show, called The Big Happy Lie Did Not Come True and opening March 8 at Hamtramck's Public Pool, features a three person music collaboration during the reception featuring Anand and special guests. Also part of the show are visual and literary works by Anand and Detroit painter Don Staes, a classically trained abstract expressionist inspired by Mexican muralists. Staes is known to return again and again to unfinished paintings, adding layers years after beginning the pieces. 

Anand moved to Detroit from Germany in large part for the city's techno music scene. His musical interests coincided with what some regarded as a "third wave" of Detroit electronic music production in the late 1990s, when artists like Adult., Ectomorph, Dopplereffekt, Perspects, Goudron and other electro specialists were peaking. He founded the label Kenaob in 2004 and released music by Andy Toth, Colin Zyskowski and Charles Preset. Later, he was also associated with Toth (ex-Detroit Grand Pubahs) and Zyskowski on the Woodbridge-based People Mover Productions label.

Anand then opened and operated Atom's Java & Juice Bar in Grosse Pointe Park, where his art, poetry and critical writing filled the walls while DJs from Detroit Techno Militia, Paris '68 and solo artists like Andy Garcia, Greg Mudge and George Rahme filled the room with strange, often discordant music.

Join us at Public Pool for this unique exhibition of visual works, confrontational words and abrasive sounds -- all making up what Anand calls "social sculpture." During the run of the show, the artist will be spending Saturdays at the gallery talking, listening, debating and arguing with anyone who drops in. 

The The Big Happy Lie Did Not Come True runs from March 8 through April 19. Saturday gallery hours are 1-6 p.m.

Public Pool is at 3309 Caniff, in Hamtramck.

Global Detroit audio: Thoughts on Gov. Snyder's immigration initiative

Steve Tobocman, director of Global Detroit, makes a strong case that not only could the city use highly-skilled, college educated immigrants -- which Gov. Snyder outlined in his recent State of the State address -- but that the city needs more working class foreign-born newcomers as a way to revitalize the local economy.

Check out this audio report on Michigan Radio. Mighty important stuff, indeed. Listen here.

New America Media: Immigrants key to Detroit revival

This report in New America Media, especpially the following three paragraphs, caught our eye last week. Who can doubt that welcoming immigrant communities to Detroit is an excellent idea? 

An excerpt:

While Detroit’s population has gone down by about 26 percent, the Latino population, particularly in the southeast side of the city, known as "Mexicantown," continues to rise, along with Latino-owned businesses.

Over the last two decades, according to census data, Detroit’s Latino population nearly doubled to 50,000 in 2010. Latinos in the city are also fairly young, with a median age of 24. 

According to an Associated Press report, more than $200 million in the past 15 years has been invested in Mexicantown, a few miles from downtown Detroit. This investment has attracted more restaurants, retail stores, and new residential buildings, including an $11 million condominium development.

Read more here.

Very Zen: Raw food rules at Hamtown's Buddhist center

When thinking of food options in Hamtramck the list is most impressive: ethnic choices (South Asian, Middle Eastern, Polish, Balkan) abound, not to mention new kitchens at Rock City Eatery and Revolver rolling out creative takes on American classic dishes.

But don't forget the café at the Detroit Zen Center (tucked away in a residential neighborhood at the corner of Casmere and Mitchell streets, one block east of Jos, Campau), says Melody Baetens of the Detroit News.

An excerpt: 

The café is rustic, clean and warm, and can seat a few dozen. Diners can choose to sit at low tables on a raised, heated platform, or in traditional tables and chairs.

Food is cooked in an open kitchen, the same used to make the center’s line of Living Zen Organics food, which includes kale chips, fresh kale salad, raw granola, raw brownies and flax crackers. (Living Zen Organic products can be found at Eastern Market, Western Market in Ferndale, Honey Bee market in Detroit, Plum Markets and healthy food stores across Metro Detroit.)

Read on here.

Public Pool show challenges ideas of art

In a new show exploring the age-old question of what makes art, yes, art, Public Pool presents ART AS ANTI-ART IS ART from Jan. 11 through Feb. 22. This group show features six Detroit artists, each of whom take a non-traditional approach using every day materials to express their ideas. Does art become artless if the core material is duck tape, or scraps of carpet, or pigeon feathers, or everyday trash? 

The show features everything from duct-taped paintings to a bass-guitar boat to a catch-scratch sculpture. 

In a special presentation on opening night (Jan. 11) Public Pool welcomes a Q & A session with international art critic Arthur Dotwieller, on loan from the Vandermiron Trust Estate Collection in Liechtenstein. Dotwieller will offer his thoughts on the works in the show and art in general, and, for the first time in his career, take questions from the audience.

Featured artists include: Matt Ziolkowski, Claire D'Aoust, Dylan Spaysky, Bridget Michael, Kathy Leisen, Geoff Burkhart, and Dan Miller (performance).

Public Pool is at 3009 Caniff in Hamtramck.

Two Hamtown buildings could be bargain for right bidder

Two buildings on Jos. Campau in Hamtramck could be just the prime ticket for the right developer, if you read between the lines in this article on an upcoming closed bid in the Hamtramck Review. An excerpt:

The first to go up for bid is a partially developed loft space on Jos. Campau and Goodson, a former veterans post.
The city acquired the property for $40,000 after a developer failed to finish the project. The city, however, ran out of time and perhaps money to complete the project. The city will be seeking sealed bids for the property.
It could be quite a steal for the lucky bidder. The upper floor has already been converted into two lofts, while the downstairs is open for any configuration or purpose, including turning it into a retail space.
The next city-owned building to be put up for bid is the largest in the Jos. Campau business district, at the corner of Belmont. The four-story building came into the city’s possession due to a foreclosure.

A would-be developer had a state grant to tap into to help with rehab costs, but he could not secure a bank loan to finance the project.

The potential for this building is unlimited, and for the right developer a goldmine. Read the rest of the story here.

Sounds good to us. To submit a sealed bid, mail it to:

City of Hamtramck, Office of the City Clerk, 3401 Evaline, Hamtramck, MI 48212

Minimum bid is $145,500 and every bidder must submit a certified check in an amount equaling 10 percent of their bid. Make check out to Treasurer, City of Hamtramck. Bids are due Dec. 18, 3 p.m. That's this Wednesday. 

To see photos of the Goodson building, inside and out, go here.

Public Pool to host fundraiser for Hamtown Farms

Last week, we reported on Hamtown Farms' efforts to raise money to keep its green investment moving forward on Lumpkin St. just south of Holbrook in Hamtramck.
Michael Davis, who launched the community-based project in 2012, is attempting to raise $10,000 to purchase the lots where his productive garden grows. The lots are presently owned by the city of Hamtramck. Neighboring Kowalski Sausage has said it is also interested in purchasing the property.
This week, the Farms' allies in Hamtramck are stepping up to help support the project. 
On Wednesday (that's tomorrow, Nov. 13), Rock City Eatery servers will be asking patrons if they'd like to give $3 to the farm. If they say yes, $3 will be added to their bill. The truly fab Rock City is at 11411 Jos. Campau, one block north of Caniff.
On Friday, Nov. 15 a benefit dinner is being held at the Hamtramck Moose Lodge #1670. The lodge is at 9421 Conant (that's a block and a half north of Holbrook). Dinner starts at 6 p.m. $10 donation.

And on Saturday, Nov. 16, Public Pool (3309 Caniff, Hamtramck) hosts a presentation by Davis, who will talk about the Hamtown Farms project and its current campaign to raise funds. Also on the bill are Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski and Model D Green City diarist Matthew Piper, who wrote this piece last year that included Hamtown Farms.
The event begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. An art show called Cut Paste Borrow Burn, featuring work by Hamtramck collage artists Anne Harrington Hughes and Christina Galasso, is currently up. Viewing of the exhibit is encouraged. Expect good beer, good wine and good snacks. Invited guests begin their talk at around 7 p.m. Donations will be accepted throughout the evening.

Hamtown Farms raising funds to save green investment

Last summer, we ran this great piece that included Hamtown Farms as part of our Green City Diaries series. We have followed the efforts of urban farmer Michael Davis before and after the piece. And now we report a potential hiccup in the progress of this noble project. Under emergency finacial management, Hamtramck was about to sell the city-owned land to neighboring Kowalski Sausage, which has designs on converting it into a "a parking lot or a buffer." (Now hold on, Kowalski, we love your kielbasa and assorted lunch meats, not to mention you guys have the best neon sign in the entire region, but a parking lot vs. a productive urban farm that has already planted myriad seeds of cultural growth in the community is simply no contest.)

An excerpt from Eclecta: 

The good news is that Hamtown Farms has received what Michael Davis is calling "mind blowing support." They have created a fundraising page at the crowd-funding website Indiegogo. It is their hope that they will raise enough money to be able to outbid any other groups in the auction, including Kowalski Sausage, and then own the property outright.

One more thing: this is a major opportunity lost by Kowalski Sausage. They could be the good guys here, the good corporate citizen that made an investment in their community to make it a better place to live. Instead, they have chosen not to do this and, in fact, to do the exact opposite. They told Emergency Manager Square that they didn’t have any specific plans for the land, they "just wanted to have it." They told Fox News Detroit it would be turned into a "parking lot or a buffer." What could have been a tremendous contribution to the community is ending up being a public relations disaster for Kowalski Sausage. If they see turning this remarkable farm space into a parking lot as somehow a good thing will benefit them, they are decidedly wrong. It's hard to imagine why they think this is a good approach. Read more here.

Fundraising continues until Nov. 19 here.

Planet Ant celebrates 20 years of creativity

Planet Ant Theatre celebrates its 20th anniversary with an evening of performances featuring current and former Planet Ant artists Friday, Oct. 11 at Detroit's Gem Theatre.

This event will celebrate the theatre's rich history of music, theatre and improv comedy. Hosted by Planet Ant Artistic Director Shawn Handlon, performances will include musical numbers taken from some of Planet Ant's best original productions, improv from the renowned Planet Ant Home Team and The 313, plus live band performances by 19.5 Collective, The Twilight Babies, and Pewter Club with Scott Sanford.

Tickets for Planet Ant's 20th Anniversary event are $30 balcony and $50 main floor and are available now here. Doors open at 7 p.m. with performances beginning at 8 p.m. A cash bar will be available, and a $10 discount is available for anyone who has been involved with a Planet Ant show or production. The Gem Theatre is at 333 Madison Ave, downtown Detroit.

Greenway construction begins on link from RiverWalk to Hamtramck

John Gallagher writes in the Detroit Free Press that "construction is under way on more than 10 miles of greenways that will link the RiverWalk to Eastern Market, Midtown and Hamtramck in about a year’s time."

Nice. We never get tired of hearing updates on the non-motorized trail that cuts up the near East Side.

More from Gallagher:

"The work includes an extension of the popular Dequindre Cut north into Eastern Market, as well as streetscape improvements in the market, work in Midtown and creation of the Hamtramck Connector bike lanes north from the market to that community."

Read the rest of the article here.

Link Detroit, extension of Dequindre Cut, set to begin construction

Our friends at Mode Shift Move Together updated a story near and dear to us: the extension of the greenway that currently cuts through the near East Side from the riverfront to Gratiot, just south of Eastern Market.

An excerpt:

To start with, Eastern Market will be getting a major upgrade. The street curbs on Russell Street will be lined up in a consistent manner, and the area will be spruced up with trees and greenery. In addition, new bike parking structures will be installed at the district's main parking lot and at the corner of Russell and Wilkins.

The market will also feature easy access to the Dequindre Cut, a below-street level biking and walking path built on an old railroad line in downtown Detroit, which will be extended as part of the project. Currently, it runs from Woodbridge Street near the Milliken State Park at the riverfront to Gratiot Avenue. The extension will take it a mile north to Mack Avenue. Three bridges spanning the Cut will also be repaired and another taken down.

Read more here.

Artists from Detroit and Zimbabwe connect via bedroom portal

A struggling economy, a population exodus, huge swatches of blight and abandonment, and a flurry of artists moving in to respond and fill the gap. Sounds like Detroit but it actually describes Zimbabwe, too. So just how do artist respond to similar circumstance -- from one continent to another, from an entire country to a city, and from the visual arts to song to the written word, and beyond?

Find out at Public Pool’s upcoming show Kumusha, running Sept. 14 -- Oct. 19. Kumusha, the Shona word for home, displays the results of cultural exchange happening through a digital portal in separate but identical bedrooms –- one in the new Zimbabwe Cultural Center of Detroit and another in the new Detroit Cultural Center of Zimbabwe. 

For one installation, artists received photographs of scenic views from the collaborating city, and turned them into drawings in postcard format. For another, a video recording of Zimbabwe singer Hope Masike sings Eminem’s I’m Sorry Mama, inspiring a response from Detroit singer Monica Blaire. In another, Chido Johnson carves on the living room floor of the Zimbabwe Cultural Centre in Detroit, turning the house into a printmaking woodblock. This is a reproduction of an image carved by Admire Kamudzengerere onto the wooden floor of a house in Harare, Zimbabwe. A radio station, films, t-shirt screenprinting, Dj’d mixed tapes and more are all part of this ambitious project. 

Kumusha opens on Sept. 14 with an opening party. Public Pool patrons are also encouraged to visit the Detroit Portal at the Zimbabwe Cultural Center of Detroit throughout the run of the show.

Public Pool is at 3009 Caniff, Hamtramck.

Ride It Sculpture Park readies for phase II upgrades

One of our favorite Detroit neighborhoods -- dubbed NoHam, Bangtown or Power House, after the off-the-grid residential project launched by artist-architect couple Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert -- is featured in this Metro Times story on the area's unique skateboard scene that attracts vistors from as far away as Germany. Not to mention kids from the immediate neighborhood.

An excerpt:

The park, dubbed Ride it Sculpture Park, has grown over time as Power House has continued to raise the money necessary to build it along a stretch of East Davison, off Klinger, in the Detroit neighborhood north of Hamtramck where several artists have bought houses in recent years. The park is gaining some notoriety in the skate world -- and among neighborhood kids, some of whom have never seen a skateboard.

Cool stuff, yes? Read on here.

Feature film projects come to Detroit, Hamtramck

The Michigan Film Office says How to Catch a Monster, a feature film that marks actor Ryan Gosling’s writing and directing debut, was awarded an incentive of $1,750,909 on $6,238,922 of projected in-state expenditures. The project is expected to hire 104 Michigan workers with a full time equivalent of 30 jobs.

The film will shoot in Detroit and other metro locations and features Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Saoirse Ronan (Atonement), Eva Mendes (The Place Beyond the Pines) and Matt Smith (Doctor Who). 

Also approved for a state film encentive is Landlordwhich shoots in Hamtramck, and follows the tale of Elvis Martini, a widowed landlord dealing with spiritual conflict and the abduction of his daughter.

Follow news from the Michigan Film Office here.

HatchArt group looks for show entries, increased membership

There's lots going on in the Hamtramck art scene, including a show seeking entries at HatchArt.
All entries must be received by by Monday, April 1. That's next Monday.
All media accepted and entries will be judged from digital files. Images should be about 800x600 pixels at 72 dpi. Include your name and deliver your digital images by email to schneider@hatchart.org. Include HATCHBACK 7 in the subject field. If you prefer, you can burn your images to a CD and mail the disc to HATCH, 3456 Evaline St., Hamtramck, MI 48212.

Entry fees can be paid online via HATCH’s PayPal account. Go to hatchart.org for information on paying online.

HATCH members: $10 for two entries, $5 each additional entry (no limit).

Non-HATCH members: $20 for two entries, $5 each additional entry (no limit).

You can become a HATCH member at the time of entry for $30.

You will be notified of the juror’s decisions by email by Saturday, April 13. If you’d like to be notified by mail, send a SASE.

Performing Arts: HATCH is looking for live, free performances of all sorts for the April 26 opening and the following Saturdays during the show’s run: April 27; May 4, 11, 18 and 25. To send us a demo of your act, please follow the entry procedure noted above (there is no entry fee for performers).

For more, including membership info, go here.

ArtHopper digs current show at Public Pool

Every six to eight weeks we can't help but say something nice about Hamtramck's Public Pool. The storefront art space has too many damn fine shows by Detroit (and soon to showcase out-of-town) artists.

The blog ArtHopper recently popped in to see Contorted, an all female show curated by Jessica Frelinghuysen.

An excerpt: 

Having peeked at what I guessed I was not meant to see, I realized all the work in Contorted keeps the inner workings under wraps. Experiencing women retreating into mystery with a humorous wink, demands that the viewer look closer for the kernel of conflict. In Nicola Kuperus’ photographs, all titled Fools, uncomfortably tight cropping cutting off portions of extremities, and nightmarish crimson bags covering the figures’ heads quickly counter the somewhat clownish poses of the unitard-wearing ballerinas. The work echoes documentary photographs of prisoners of war, as well as Picasso’s eyeless woman husks.

Read on here.

Hamtramck hosts calorie-burning 5K run ahead of Paczki Day feast

Fat Tuesday is big, we mean huge, in New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro and ... Hamtramck? That's right, except here it is properly known as Paczki Day, the day before Lent begins in the Polish Catholic religious calendar.

It's become so wildly popular (bands, DJs, food, drink) that organizers thought a run would be a nice addition to the schedule -- four days before Paczki Day. Get ready to burn some calories before Fat Tuesday by participating in the inaugural PaczKi Run in Hamtramck this Saturday, Feb. 9. The 5K run begins at 10 a.m. at the corner of Holbrook and Joseph Campau. Each person finishing the race fittingly receives a paczek and a beer. The PaczKi Run is presented by Tour-De-Troit in partnership with the Hamtramck Downtown Development Authority.            
Several Hamtramck businesses will be offering runners a “bib discount” after they cross the finish line on this Saturday, they include:
$1 domestic draft beers @ New Dodge Lounge, 8850 Joseph Campau
$1 beer specials @ Whiskey in the Jar, 2741 Yemens St.
35 percent off the regular retail price of clothing @ Chiipss, 10229 Joseph Campau
10 percent all items @ Detroit Threads, 10238 Joseph Campau

And: Free samples @ Srodek’s Campau Quality Sausage, 9601 Joseph Campau
Free Prince Polish candy bar @ Polish Art Center, 9539 Joseph Campau
$1 off records @ Record Graveyard, 2610 Carpenter St.
$5 off any purchase of $15 or more @ Amici’s, 9842 Joseph Campau     
Advance registration only costs $25 and is available through Tuesday, Feb. 5. That's today, runners. Sign-up early here

All proceeds will benefit City of Hamtramck’s non-motorized trail plan.

Impressive group of sponsors, too: Detroit Threads, Talmer Bank, McClure's Pickles, Jurkiewicz & Wilk Funeral Home, Whiskey in the Jar, The Belmont Bar, Polish-American Chamber of Commerce-Michigan, Simply Suzanne Granola, New Dodge Lounge, Record Graveyard, Polish Art Center, New Palace Bakery, New Martha Washington Bakery, Sam's Market, Alexis G. Krot, P.C., Plante Moran, Glory Supermarket, Miller Canfield and Giffels Webster Engineers.

Brooklyn Museum acquires Hamtramck art dealer's Black Arts Movement collection

Chicago art dealer and collector David Lusenhop, who has been working and now living in a studio space belonging to former Hamtramck mayor Gary Zych, has been hunting down notable works of revolutionary African-American Americana for the past 12 years.

The coveted collection -- 44 works by 26 artists -- was just acquired by the Brooklyn Museum, reports the New York Times:

When the curator of American art at the Brooklyn Museum began work on an exhibition to coincide with next year’s anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, she happened on a trove of works from the Black Arts Movement, the cultural arm of the black power movement of the 1960s and 1970s. This was an area of the art market long neglected but recently attracting attention. Great stuff.

Read more here.

Hamtown's Jos. Campau gets state historic designation

One of America's grandest main streets, Jos. Campau has history that stretches the whole of the 20th century. Recently. Hamtramck's famous commercial strip was designated historic by the State of Michigan.

Excerpt from the Hamtramck Review:  

Along with the block’s new status also comes new opportunities. Properties considered historic under the designation are now eligible for a 20 percent tax credit that can be used for building rehabilitation.
The project was initiated by Community & Economic Development Director Jason Friedmann and was pursued by the Downtown Development Authority. Rebecca Binno Savage served as the historic preservation lead, using the writing and research of city historian Greg Kowalski throughout much of the process.

Read on here.

Planet Ant production explores Hamtown diversity

The linguistic, social and ethnic diversity of Hamtrmack never fails to charm us here at Model D HQ. It's great to hear that the realities of the community have inspired what looks like a nice piece of theatrical art at Planet Ant.

An excerpt: (Writer) Edwartowski’s blend of quirky characters and realistic dialogue might lead one to believe she penned much of her script by eavesdropping on Hamtramck citizens as they came and went from any of Hamtramck’s dining establishments -- it’s that natural.

Good stuff. Read more about the production here.

Hamtramck collage artist George Rahme gets big ups from Kresge Arts

There is a nice show on right now at Hamtramck's Public Pool, where neighborhood artist George Rahme is sitting daily tinkering with his huge, multi-colored collages and planning some good tunes (Rahme is an accomplished DJ as well). The Knight Arts blog takes favorable notice.

Read the whole story here.

Curbed Detroit: Colorful art heats up streets

If you haven't had a chance to check out some of the colorful, edgy street art popping up around Detroit and Hamtramck, then get out there and see it now. It's splendid.

Curbed Detroit knows what it's all about. Go here and enjoy.

Hamtramck gets historic designation for Negro League stadium

We know ballplayers who once played at this hidden gem, an historic stadium once a playing field for the old Negro League. Now, thanks to community leaders, volunteers and preservationists, the stadium has made it on the National Register of Historic Places.

Well done everybody. The Hamtramck Review has the rest of the story here.

Kickstart the Hamtramck Festival, one of 313's premier street parties

Some of you might have first attended the Hamtramck Festival, three days of urban fun in the Labor Day weekend sun, since 1980. That's a good, long run we want to see continue for decades to come.

The festival is under threat because of cutbacks in the city's budget. A solution not available 32 years ago is the best option to raise funds: Kickstarter.

Go here and throw a few bucks in the pot to keep the street party alive and kicking.  

Mode Shift links renderings of expanded D-Cut and Midtown Loop

Some of the best news we heard all last week was about the extention of the Dequindre Cut, from Gratiot to Mack Avenue, and the creation of the Midtown Loop, which will take the trail through the heart of Wayne State University and Brush Park. Also in the plans: a connector that will link Eastern Market with Hamtramck.

Pictures tell even a better story. Take a look at these accessed from the Mode Shift Move Together site.

Edgy Detroit Beautification Project explodes with color and controversy

This story in the Detroit News confirms what we knew already -- that the street art that went up on Detroit and Hamtramck buildings this spring is radically beautiful and that the idea was hatched by a Hamtramck-based group called Contra Projects.

An excerpt: 

Hamtramck officials and property owners were so accommodating to the Beautification Project that most of the murals went up there first. It's part of the city's plan to spotlight its artistic side, head off illegal graffiti, and, perhaps grab a little of the global cool Detroit has been enjoying on the international art stage.

Jason E. Friedmann, Hamtramck's director of economic and community development, said the town has long been an art haven for creative types, but that side hasn't always been visible to outsiders.

"We're trying to get our underground creative thing out in the open to underline that this is part of what Hamtramck is all about," he said.

Well said Jason, well said.

Read on here.

Hamtown Farms to bear rare fruit trees

We've been following the progress of this Hamtramck tree planting project for the past month or so, and we're happy to see that the ground-breaking of Hamtown Farms was a success. Check out this excerpt: 

Dozens of hands dug, pulled, rolled, shoveled and tamped the rock-hard earth in the hopes of eventually harvesting a pawpaw orchard, hazelnut bushes and vegetables near the flowers and open space of Michigan’s most densely packed city.

Wow, love that description, by Detroit Free Press staff writer Megha Satyanarayana. And the picture of cool Mayor Karen Majewski, ready to dig in. Read more here.

Kick some cash over to Hamtramck creatives converting cop station to art center

Hatch: A Hamtramck Art Collective purchased an abandoned building from the city of Hamtramck for $1 with plans to convert it into an art center.  The building was initially a dormitory for nuns from the 1920s to the late 1960s, then became a police station (complete with jail cells and the rumor of ghosts).

The group is close to being able to occupy the building, which will feature low cost studios for artists, an art gallery, a workroom that will include Detroit’s only public darkroom, a classroom, and more.

They need some help to finish the rehab. You can be part of that help by supporting the project on Kickstarter. Give Hatch some ($$$) love here.

Commissioned murals transform Hamtramck streets

Metro Times associate editor and ace blogger Michael Jackman nails this illustrative report on all the visually exciting stuff going on in Hamtown (the author himself lives a half block from the city limits) and how some locals are debating the very definition of art. An excerpt:

The murals in Hamtramck were done with the cooperation of individual building owners and the city’s department of community development, with Contra Project’s Thewes taking a lead role in that city within a city. Many of the works there are what Thewes calls effective "gateway pieces," especially a piece -- by the artists Reyes -- that sprawls all over the western wall of PAVA Post 113 at 2238 Holbrook, greeting motorists arriving from I-75.

We love that one, in particular, but they're all plenty awesome. Check out the story here.

Hamtramck writer's collab with Matthew Barney gets some love

Steve Hughes is plenty rad. His Stupor project, a series of barstool-inspired tales, was recently published to critical acclaim. The book came on the heels of a Kresge Arts Foundation Grant in 2010. The author is also one of the prime movers behind the Public Pool art space in Hamtramck. 

In the journal Deliberately Considered, critic Vince Carducci reviews Hughes' latest Stupor installment. Check it out here.

Plant your vote for Hamtown Farms in Communities Take Root project

We chanced upon this little gem when cruising the interwebs the other night. It's all about green space, public space and density--all near and dear to our hearts.

Best of all it's about a project called Hamtown Farms, which is competing with other worthy projects as part of the nonprofit Communities Take Root program, which aims to plant fruit-bearing trees in parks and low-income neighborhoods.

If you like what looks like a cool reuse of long vacant land on the south end of Hamtramck, vote for Hamtown Farms here.

What, it's Paczki Day already?

Yup, as you read this, if you are reading on the day we publish, it is indeed Paczki Day, Detroit's version of Mardri Gras. This pre-Lenten celebration is also known as Fat Tuesday, the last day for Catholics to go nuts before trimming their diets for about six weeks (ending on Easter Sunday).

Hamtramck, whose population was once overwhelmingly Polish Catholic, is party central for Paczki Day. We recommend you just hit the town running, get a few dozen berry-filled paczki at local bakeries like New Palace and New Martha Washington or at markets like Srodek's, Bozek's, Stan's or Polish Market. Then find a party at just about any bar in town; or hip retailers like Detroit Threads and Lo & Behold, which will be rolling out DJs and bands. 

Behold this, from the Hamtramck Review. 

Knight Arts picks up Carrie Dickason's 'beautiful trash' at Public Pool

Since opening in late winter 2010, Hamtramck's Public Pool has hosted one edgy and different show after another, usually alternating group with solo exhibitions. The most recent solo show is by Cranbrook-trained Carrie Dickason, an Indiana native now living in the same neighborhood as the gallery.

We like the show, up through Feb. 25 (the artist is adding more elements to the works every Saturday, 1-6 p.m.) at the space at 3309 Caniff Ave. So does Knight Arts. Read all about it here.

Kickstart Kresge grant winner Steve Hughes' 'Stupor' project with Matthew Barney

When writer-builder Steve Hughes met art world maverick Matthew Barney a few years back on a Detroit film set, who knew the two would hit it off and one day collaborate on a book project as part of Hughes' elegantly wasted 'Stupor' series? It's a match made in, well, some stinking, cinematic barroom in a town that is equal parts Hamtramck (where Hughes lives and gets plenty of inspiration) and Boise, Idaho, where Barney spent his formative years.

We don't really know, it's just a guess on our part. But we're eager to see the finished product, to be called Washed in Dirt. Help support it here. Then listen to WDET-FM's Rob St. Mary talk to Hughes here.

Detroit artists "Un-Dress, Re-Dress" clothing and fashion at Public Pool

Public Pool is in its second year of showcasing innovative visual and sound art on an international scale. Yes, that ambitious, that good. Not to mention becoming a transformative presence in its central Hamtramck neighborhood. It's nice to see people are noticing, including the discerning eyes and ears at Knight Arts. 

The current show, "Un-Dress Re-Dress," includes artists are Lisa Anne Auerbach, Olayami Dabls, Jessica Frelinghuysen, Anne Harrington Hughes, Sarah Lapinski, Mark Newport, Lauren Rassel, Cristin Richard and Sarah Wagner.

Richard, who created a dress made from hog intestines (you heard that right; it's an amazing piece that hangs from the ceiling to the middle of the floor) called "The American Dream," is hosting the remaining gallery hours Dec. 10 and Dec. 17, 1-6 p.m. 

Read all about it here.

Re:New Detroit to sponsor weekly Hamtramck ping-pong tourney

A pop-up ping-pong parlour invites paddle-wielding assassins to bring their best games to Hamtramck every Tuesday evening.

Each Tuesday at 8 p.m., SMASH! will invade Skipper's bar in Hamtramck (get there early to put your name up on the board for a match). Paddles, balls, sweatbands (natch), and plenty of food for veggies and carnivores alike are on the menu -- just bring your game face and a few dollars for the drink specials.

SMASH! is sponsored by Re:New Detroit, a sports therapy studio located at 155 W. Congress in the Murphy Telegraph building, suite #400. If you pick up a mean case of tennis elbow at SMASH, you'll be all covered.

Get the spin here.

Hygienic Dress League antiheroes' chilling city portraits

Pairing anonymity-creating gas masks with the expensive suits, fur coats and boardroom tables of corporate America, the Hygienic Dress League is many things at once -- a licensed corporation that produces nothing but its own logo, an art project with murals and signs across the city, and a continuous discussion on the roles of marketing and branding in American culture.

They're also the stars of a new Public Pool exhibit, running through Oct. 22, entitled "Portraits of the Hygienic Dress League," which was shot by founders Steve and Dorota Coy, Scott Hocking, Gregory Holm, Dave Krieger, Nicola Kuperus and Tom Stoye. You'll find these art antiheroes posing in streets, by the river, in factory yards and old houses -- truly a one-of-a-kind slide show. We know one thing -- this city's never looked quite so sinister.

Click here for the gallery.

Art, bikes and a beautiful day at Anna Scripps Park

To celebrate its first year of work, the dynamo arts organization Forward Arts added a new event to its repertoire -- the donation-based Art Ride, which took 100 patrons to lesser-ventured city creations like Hamtramck Disneyland, Heidelberg satellite project Street Folk 2 and Power House Productions.

The bike ride culminated at Woodbridge's Anna Scripps Park, where Access Arts hosted seven installations and a number of workshops and showcases from its students. As the Knight Arts blog reports, over 15 organizations and stakeholders came together to put on the show.


This is a clear example of why art improves the quality of our lives. On a sunny day, kids built forts with their family and neighbors, and a diverse crowd admired the art pieces, while mingling in the park and snaking on delicious treats from the Pink FlaminGO! food truck. It created a positive energy that people were attracted to, and everyone walked away with a little bit of culture, whether (sic) they expected to or not.

Photographs and more available here.

Downtown Detroit fights back

There's plenty good going on in Detroit right now, summarized in a recent article from the Washington Times. Whole Foods, the Live Midtown housing incentives and recent population growth in young professionals, well-covered, all receive their due. What's new is an interview with Nate Forbes, managing partner of Troy's Somerset Collection, which has opened the CityLoft retail venture in the downtown Woodward corridor. Forbes touts both the city's public-private partnerships and current leaders for creating an atmosphere that supports new businesses and entrepreneurs.


"Of course Detroit has a lot of geography — it's a large city. There's no telling how long it will take, but you have to start off in small chunks. You have a lot of businesses moving to the area that will spawn other investments — hotels, retail, restaurants. It's one block at a time, but when you go down there now, you feel a renewed energy."

More to read here.

New doc: Detroit in Overdrive

The Discovery Channel's new miniseries, Detroit in Overdrive, appearing on Planet Green, digs in deep. While familiar faces like Motor City Denim's Joe Faris and Kid Rock get their due, this vid searches out the "tangible faces behind those big buildings" for the three-part special, which originally aired Aug. 4. That means Maria's Comida, the Sphinx Organization and CCS student and designer Veronika Scott are among the long list of the city's community members and do-gooders sharing the spotlight with Detroit's superstars. We like it.


The Russell Industrial center functions as a community space for artists, craftspeople, and small businesses. Edith Floyd stands up for what she believes in by building an urban garden where abandoned houses once stood. Last, Kristyn Koth and Malik Muqaribu feed Detroiters in their 1956 Airstream, the Pink Flamingo, bringing fresh organic food to Detroiters in a unique mobile food truck, spearheading a local food movement.

Find out more about Detroit in Overdrive here.

Hamtramck: Michigan's most walkable city

Are there any benefits to a city making itself more walkable? Plenty, says walkscore.com, which ranks cities across the nation based on a patent-pending algorithm that gives points to amenities located within a quarter-mile radius. Residents of walkable cities typically weigh 6-10 lbs. less than their car-bound counterparts, for one. They also tend to be more involved in their communities and get more value from their homes.

Michigan's rankings are up, and the city of Hamtramck topped the state in terms of walkability (we're still scratching our heads over Madison Heights, which was ranked #3). Want to live a "car-lite" lifestyle where there is an Indian, Arab, Polish or Mexican-Asian fusion kitchen on three commercial avenues -- Jos. Campau, Conant and Caniff -- not to mention options for art and music, accessible via a few long strides down human-scale residential streets? Head for Hamtown.

Check out scores and more here.

Juxtapoz artists make permanent home in Detroit

Detroit News columnist Donna Terek says she wasn't thrilled with last year's Juxtapoz art project, in which the California-based mag turned six national artists loose in an East Side Detroit neighborhood to work their magic on a street of abandoned homes. But two of those "fly-by-night" creatives are making a permanent nest in Detroit, and brought five more with them.

Artist Ryan Doyle, along with his family, will continue working on the three-story art installation he calls the "Treasure's Nest" while running an informal artists' hostel and planting an urban garden. And Doyle already sounds like a resident: "I don't know why everyone doesn't want to move to Detroit," he says.


In a way, what they're doing seems a hipster cliche by now: move to Detroit, buy a cheap house, plant an urban garden. But so what? Cliches develop because they are methods that work. Detroit could use more like these.

In fact, it can use a lot more. In a city bleeding population, can we afford to look askance at a transfusion of creative plasma like these enthusiastic Detroit-ophiles? We need as many of them as are willing to come. And, while I was skeptical about the magazine's helicopter artist drop, this is exactly the kind of thing that creates buzz about Detroit on the coasts where the majority of cultural opinion makers resides and publishes.

Check out the rest of the story here.

Hamtramck Review agrees: Immigration is the D's hot topic

With a foreign-born population of over 40 percent and 26 different languages heard in school, Hamtramck is one of the nation's best examples of how a city can thrive on diversity. The city's newspaper of record, the Hamtramck Review weekly, was in attendance for last week's Model D Speaker Series, and they found plenty to report on from our engaging panel of speakers.


If the folks at Model D, an online Detroit-based media company, have their way, the entire greater metro Detroit region will follow in our fair city's footsteps to achieve the same reputation. In a well-attended meeting this past Tuesday evening, co-sponsored by Wayne State's FM radio station WDET, a cross-section of speakers made the case for the positives of promoting greater Detroit as a "model" for engaging potential new citizens. Read more here.

Hamtramck teacher to climb mountain for the kids

Hamtramck High School business teacher John Rostek wants to raise money to fund his students' extracurricular activities -- one foot at a time.

He's pledged to climb Alaska's Mount McKinley. At 20,320 feet above sea level, it's America's highest peak. Rostek hopes to raise $1 for every foot he climbs. He'll carry 60 lbs. of gear, drag a sled with 50 lbs. more, and brave average temperatures of -20 degrees Fahrenheit for the cause.

Check out the video here, or click here to find out more about "Climbing for Success" on Facebook.

Public TV goes "Under the Radar" in Hamtown

The new DPTV show "Under the Radar Michigan" takes viewers into the Mitten State's most interesting, kitschy and unique tourist attractions and locales. This last episode looks at immigrant communities in Michigan: the celebration of Germanic culture in Frankenmuth and the melting pot of national identities in Hamtramck. In Hamtown, our hosts take a peek at Hamtramck Disneyland, get a new look at Detroit Threads, sample the food fusion fare at Maria's Comida, and swing by the multimedia cultural experience of Public Pool. It's estimated four million viewers will join the adventure.

Watch the video here.

Hamtramck seeks historic designation for Negro League ballfield

There are only five ballparks left in America that once housed Negro League ball clubs -- and one of them is right in Hamtramck.

The years haven't been kind to Veterans Memorial Field, which opened in 1930 as Roesink Stadium and housed the Detroit Stars (and thousands of African-American fans) for decades. Now, a team of preservationists are working to have the field added to the National Register of Historic Places. That's the first step to renovating the diamond (at a cost of $500,000 to $750,000, it's an excellent candidate for restoration) so that, once again, this field can house the boys and girls of summer.


Mayor Karen Majewski said the project unites many interests. Nettie Mae Stearnes, 92, the widow of Norman Thomas (Turkey) Stearnes, an outfielder who joined the Detroit Stars in 1923, said her husband played at the stadium and that it had importance to African Americans during racial segregation."It was beautiful to see," she said. "Those who loved baseball would be there."

Find out what Hamtramck's doing to save its ballpark here.

Diverse (soup) city to fund community projects in Hamtramck

Building on the success of microfinancing projects like Detroit Soup and Soup at Spalding, we hear there's another community soup dinner setting the table for guests in Hamtramck.

Hosted by Marie Pronko, owner of Hamtramck's Mex/Asian fusion restaurant Maria's Comida, Diverse (soup) city will also bring soup-lovers and do-gooders together for a collective meal to raise funds for creative projects in Hamtown.


Tell your friends; SOUP is…a collaborative situation, a public dinner, a theatrical environment, a platform for performance, a local experiment in micro-funding, a relational hub connecting various creative communities, a forum for critical discussion, an opportunity to support creative people in Hamtramck.

The first Diverse (soup) city takes place Sunday, Feb. 20 at Maria's Comida, and will meet the third Sunday of the month thereafter. The cost is $7 for a big bowl of goodness -- and not just the kind you can spoon.

Send your micro-finance ideas here by the Friday before every dinner, and check out the website for more details.

The greatest little leaguer there ever was came from Hamtramck

The Little League World Series is going on right now. That's when the best teams of 12- and 13-year-olds compete for Little League supremacy. Last week we posted a piece from the Bleacher Report where they ranked the 1959 Hamtramck Little League team as the fourth best all-time. Well, this week, in the Detroit News is a profile on one of that teams players, Art "Pinky" Deras. Some have considered him the best 12-year-old to ever place baseball. In fact there is a documentary about Deras titled "The Legend of Pinky Deras: The Greatest Little-Leaguer There Ever Was" that depicts the amazing story of the young legend.

Excerpt from the Detroit News:

Only two cities have ever won both the Little League and Pony League World Series.

Marietta, Ga., is one. Hamtramck is the other.

"A lot of people are surprised to know that," said Stan Nalepa, a teammate of Deras' on the Pony League team. "We're very proud of that fact. We had a close-knit group and we remain that today."

To those players who were part of either, or both, of those teams, the success isn't startling.

Little League baseball in Hamtramck was thriving. Kids were encouraged to play, and more than the fundamentals were taught by a dedicated group of elders.

"The dads, parents who gave up their time, the coaching, it was tremendous," Paciorek said. "It was such a great, hard-working community. We had the support of everyone. And the caliber of play was excellent.

"It was just a special time in Hamtramck."

Read the entire article here.

Hamtramck Little League World Series winners ranked fourth all time

Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s the Hamtramck Little League team was a sight to behold, or so they say. The Bleacher Report has ranked them the fourth best Little League World Series winner of all time. The piece also asks those in Hamtramck to reach out and let them know you're out there. So, go ahead and do that.

Excerpt from the Bleacher Report:

Hamtramck, Michigan might not sound like a real place, but when they beat Auburn, California 12-0 for the 1959 LLWS, I still didn't think it was a real place.  In fact, I couldn't find any proof of it's existence and I was forced to use a picture of Comerica to represent Michigan baseball.  If anyone from Hamtramck is reading this, let us know you're out there.

Anyway, what made this win so monumental was that it was the first win by an American team since the tournament went international.  So this was kind of a serious one at No. 4.

See the entire list here.

Hamtramck's Labor Day festival in the hands of the community

Because of financial constraints in Hamtramck, the city's Labor Day Festival is asking for volunteers and members of the community to step up, help out, and raise some funds. The newspaper of record for Hamtramck, the Review, is holding a fundraiser on Aug. 7 at the paper's office at 3020 Caniff.

Excerpt from the Hamtramck Review:

This year's Hamtramck Labor Day Festival needs all the help it can get.

The city was so broke this year it had to lay off the special events coordinator. That left two options for the city: cancel the festival or seek out volunteers to organize it.

Well, two residents have stepped forward, Kathleen Bittner and Rachel Srodek, to take the reins. Without financial support from the city, the pair has had to drum up donations.

So far, they said, the response has been over the top. Individuals are donating their services and goods, and even the Hamtramck School Board kicked in $2,000 to sponsor a 3K run that will help bring in more donations.

We here at The Review are also pitching in. The Review is holding a fundraiser on Aug. 7. You can't beat this deal: If you purchase a ticket in advance, it costs a measly $15. And for that you get drinks and food.

Read the entire article here.

Russell Industrial Center is a factory of dreams, says Fortune Magazine

OK, not literally a factory of dreams, but it's filled with artists and creatives and those people are producing dreams (or at the very least art). The Russell Industrial Center is one of those places that make Detroit feel like Detroit.

Excerpt from Fortune:

This is a story of two Detroit factories, one a symbol of despair and the other of promise. On the one hand is the old Packard car plant on East Grand -- 3.5 million square feet on 38 desolate acres. Broken windows, crumbling bricks, creeping vines, and a FOR SALE sign that's been hanging there for years. "Most of the interest," realtor David Wax told us, "is to tear it down for the steel in the building."

On the other hand, just down the road, stands an icon of hope, a gargantuan factory complex, the Russell Industrial Center. It has the same lofty pedigree as the Packard plant (both were designed by Albert Kahn) and a similar vintage (it was built in the 1920s). As the former headquarters of Murray Corp., which made bodies for Ford in the glory days, this plant, too, is inhabited by ghosts. Here, however, the ghosts share quarters with some spirited company: a menagerie of glass blowers, cabinetmakers, architects, seamstresses, a sneaker designer, and three women who teach pole dancing, among others -- 160 small-business tenants in all, most of them operating on the frontlines of Detroit's burgeoning creative economy.

Read the entire article here.

Fast Company visits U-M's Detroit 5 architects project

Five architects have purchased a house in the Davison-Conant area and have transformed it into a piece of public art. Well, five pieces actually. Fast Company drops puts up some nice images of their work.

Excerpt from Fast Company

The Motor City has 33,529 vacant houses. To most of the country, that's 33,529 reasons to wring its hands over What To Do About Detroit. To architects, it's a gold mine.

Five research fellows from the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning transformed an abandoned house in Hamtramck (which is basically Detroit) into their very own lab rat. The recent architecture grads gave it new stairs, walls, glazing, rooms -- the works. But it wasn't some heroic attempt to build shelter for down and outs, which a lot of architecture schools are into these days. It was a pure design exercise -- one aimed at rethinking the conventions of a single-family home -- and it shows how much creativity you can draw from the great arsenal of Detroit's ruins.

Read the entire article here.

Luring immigrants should be a strategy for Detroit

It's been well-documented the benefits of having a healthy immigrant population. They start companies, they diversify the economy, and they put the money back into the community. Just look at Southwest Detroit or Hamtramck's Bangladeshi Avenue, which you may know as Conant. Detroit's immigrant is only at 4.8 percent, while the nationally that number is 12.5. That means there's room to improve... and you know us here in Detroit have space.

Excerpt from the Detroit News:

Bring us your fired-up, your hungry-to-succeed, your Ph.D.s. Bring us your entrepreneurial foreign born, who were 189 percent more likely to start a business in 2008 than those of us born stateside.

For decades, Detroit's ethnic populations have migrated to the suburbs, while new immigrants largely bypass the city.

The trend is national, but it's acute in Detroit, the city that once teemed with immigrants. The region now has an immigrant population of 12.5 percent, which mirrors the national average. Detroit's is about 4.8 percent.

Those are among the findings from a draft of "Global Detroit," a study backed by foundations and industry types and shepherded by former state Rep. Steve Tobocman. The southwest Detroit resident spent a year researching how to unleash new energy in Metro Detroit.

"No American city has had population gains without immigration," says Tobocman, whose grandfather came to Detroit from Poland a century ago.

Read the entire article here.

So what's up with that random Detroit marching band?

If you made it out to the Metro Times Blowout a few things may have happened: You may have drank too much, you may have had permanently damaged your hearing, and you may have witnessed an unscheduled appearance of a marching band -- the Detroit Party Marching Band. Word on the street is this isn't the last time you'll hear from these guys. Maybe we'll see them sometime soon when lots of people are wearing green, perhaps?

Excerpt from the Metro Times Blowout Blog:

So, you may have been hanging out at Small's last night sipping a drink in the bar room waiting for the next band to start, or may have been hugging a wall in the hallway of the Gates of Columbus when, out of nowhere, you see...a marching band?

Not part of the Blowout schedule or planned by the Metro Times in any way, this assemblage of horn blowers, bass drum thumpers, and cymbal crashers crashed Saturday at the Blowout (although respectfully by not entering the actual performance spaces while a scheduled band was playing).

Read the entire post here.

John Lee Hooker's old haunts in Detroit

John Lee Hooker's Detroit is profiled in a new article in the music magazine Fretboard Journal.


One North End business that survives is the Apex Bar, the same club that once hosted blues greats like Hooker, Little Sonny and Sonny Boy Williamson II. Disco and disc jockeys pretty much killed off Detroit's live blues scene by the 1980s, but the Apex withstood the surrounding blight, and it continues to serve a regular clientele — an oasis of sorts for a neighborhood that has seen better days.

"The best thing about running this bar is the people," says Apex owner Marvelous Persell. She and her husband, Charles, bought the bar in 1989, and she took over the business after he died in 1995. "It's a real friendly crowd. Everyone is welcome here, as long as they're orderly and behave themselves."

Persell is fond of saying she runs the "cleanest bar in Detroit," and I don't doubt it. The exterior looks as if it hasn't changed a bit since the days when people lined around the block to see Hooker play for a $1.50 cover. The interior's a different story. Newer red-and-black-tiled floors shine immaculately thanks to regular waxing; clean mirrors line the walls. The chairs are freshly upholstered, and the tables sport bright red tablecloths.

The magazine can be found at bookstores.

The New York Times: Hamtramck is now home to paczkis and electric cars

Hamtramck is known for paczkis and Polish cuisine. But you can add electric cars to that as the Chevy Volt's new home is now the Poletown assembly plant in the southside of town.


Paczki Day is Hamtramck's version of Fat Tuesday, and it takes its name from the jelly doughnuts, or paczkis, that the Polish bakeries of Hamtramck turn out to mark the day before Lent. The day is celebrated with much enthusiasm through both good and bad years in this old municipality that lies within Detroit's city limits. But the beginning of Volt production will be reason to party more earnestly than usual, as a place known for preserving the old ways becomes very much a part of the new way.

The G.M. Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which was built in 1985, is building the Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne. Volts will be assembled on the same lines. While some new jobs will be coming to Michigan, the majority of the work force is already in place. So the selection of Hamtramck isn't a bonanza for the legions of unemployed, but jobs not lost qualify as very good news.

Read the entire article here.

Read a Detroit Free Press article here for more information about the Volt and some history on the Poletown plant.

Hamtramck's Master Plan includes interactive map

The City of Hamtramck, with help from a planning firm from Philadelphia called Interface Studio, is putting together a master plan to piece together a vision for the city's future. The firm is holding public meetings in the city and has rolled out an interactive map.

Check out the project and the map here.

As Seen on Youtube: Don't forget about Hamtramck Disneyland

Hamtramck Disneyland part folk art installation, part tourist destination, and part something else. The Hamtramck Review, the city paper that replaced the now defunct Hamtramck Citizen, posted a video to its web site focusing on the site and its creator.

Read the entire article here.

Design 99 moving to new digs at the DIA

Design 99, a design and art incubator in Hamtramck, is moving -- but not too far. They'll now be occupying a space at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Visit Design 99 on the web here.

Artists taking an artistic approach to Detroit's mortgage crisis

Most of the Model D readers know the "$100 house" story by now. So, there's no need to explain it. However, what Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert are doing in that community (and pushing to do city-wide) is a creative solution to all of the city's empty houses. They don't all have to be demo-ed. There are creative ways out of this mess and Cope and Reichert are exploring them.


"One of the neighbors asked us if we could hold English lessons there," says Cope, "so the newer Bangladeshi immigrants would have a place to set up for an English class every Sunday. So it's definitely moving in a direction. We haven't held any of that there since it's still under construction. But that's our goal."

Since Cope, O'Geen and some of the other artists are home most of the day working on their houses, they're like an informal neighborhood patrol. It's a lot harder for thieves to steal trash cans and break in to houses when people are home watching.

Reichart says what artists are doing in their tiny neighborhood can easily be replicated in other parts of Detroit. She says the city could designate 10 houses in a neighborhood to be used for artists as live/work spaces.

Read the entire article here.

Muslims given strong role in Hamtramck after election

The growing Muslim population in Hamtramck will have more representation in city government now that three Muslims were elected to a six-person City Council.


After Tuesday's election, Muslims are to make up half of the city council members in Hamtramck, a percentage believed by advocates to be the highest Muslim representation in a municipality in the United States.

Two Muslim candidates, Kazi Miah and Mohammed Hassan, were elected Tuesday to the six-member Hamtramck City Council, joining incumbent Shahab Ahmed, whose seat was not up for re-election. All three have roots in the Muslim-majority country of Bangladesh, reflecting the growing Bangladeshi-American population in a city that was once known for its Polish Catholic community. Hamtramck also has Muslim residents from Bosnia and Yemen.

Read the entire article here.

Detroit's Ivanhoe Cafe, aka the Polish Yacht Club, still kicking after 100 years

The Ivanhoe Cafe, or more popularly known as the Polish Yacht Club, is turning 100.


The land-locked Ivanhoe -- better known as the Polish Yacht Club -- is not only one of Detroit's most memorable dining places, it's also one of the oldest, celebrating its 100th anniversary this month as a family-owned business.

Stanaslauf Grendzinski built the two-story brick building as a bar and residence in 1909. His granddaughter, Lucille Sobczak, 81, of Grosse Pointe Woods owns it now.

"This was my family home. We lived upstairs," she said last week at lunch, as the kitchen turned out pan-fried perch lunches and Polish platters.


Today, the Ivanhoe is the only occupied building on its block, but Sobczak says she never considered closing. "It survived the Depression. It survived Prohibition," she said.

Read the entire article here.

Detroit artists featured on ArtSlant

ArtSlant, the "no. 1 contemporary art network," shines on a show in Chicago featuring some influential work coming out of Detroit.


If Mr. Hocking's photos are monuments to shifting social structures, the project by the Detroit Tree of Heaven Workshop represents a re-engaged social practice. The Workshop used their commission money to buy an empty lot and plant Chinese sumac, called the "Tree of Heaven". The tree, a.k.a. the "ghetto palm," grows invasively in blighted neighborhoods. The Workshop harvests these trees for sculptures and products turning a sign of disregard and decay into a resource. When considered alongside other initiatives like the Compass Group or Design 99 there is a significant segment of the show devoted to groups investigating systemic cultural, economic and environmental issues.

Read the entire article here.

Grading Time Inc.'s 'Assignment Detroit'

Time Inc. has descended onto Detroit either like a thunderstorm or as liberators, depending on who you talk to. There has been a blitz of blog posts, features stories, and videos from its self anointed "D Shack" portraying the Detroit they've seen so far.

Videos include an interview with K-9 to Five's Liz Blondy, a piece on 85 cent hamburgers, asking Detroiters why they love and hate the city, and another piece about how Detroiters "survive."

Stories have covered entrepreneurs, housing costs, Detroit's decline, and Ernie Harwell.

So, what's your take? How would you grade their assignment so far? Is it the same ol' same ol'? Or is it something different?

Our own media outlets and bloggers have been discussing the coverage as well. Read a piece by Crain's Detroit business here.

Listen to an interview with Daniel Okrent -- writer of Time's Detroit cover story -- on WDET's "Detroit Today" here.

And, last but not least, Dyspathy's "Assignment Detroit: The Drinking Game" will keep you reminded of the Detroit cliche's as well as keep you totally sauced when reading through Time's project.

Let us know what you think about the Time blitz on our Facebook page here.

Check out the Time Inc. coverage here.

Juxtapoz Magazine holding auction to help Power House Project

Juxtapoz Magazine is dedicating the proceeds from the 15th Anniversary Art Auction to helping grow the Power House Project in the Davison and Conant neighborhood.


Over 11,000 homes have been foreclosed in Detroit, which is one of many reasons why we have decided to organize our 15th Anniversary Art Auction to benefit Power House Project of Detroit. ABC News recently took a look at a unique way some artists are coping with the recession: the $100 home.
It’s no secret Detroit has seen better days. These homes have been stripped of copper wiring, some have been burned, and many are falling apart. The jobless rate in Detroit is now at a whopping 22% and crime and hopelessness is at an all-time high. However, some artists see not blight, but opportunity. A blank canvas to build studio space.


Our hope is to help make Detroit a more livable, viable, and artistic community by raising enough money via our 15th Anniversary Art Auction to purchase homes with Power House Projects in the Detroit area and fly artists out to help renovate them.
Read the entire article here.

Time: The Detroit Blog - A speical Time Inc. project

Time Inc.'s interest in Detroit has been well documented so far. But, in case you missed it, the big media machine has bought a house in East English Village and will set up shop there for a year to cover Detroit and all that it brings - both negative and positive.

In this week's In The News we have a piece up written by the New York Times, as well as a mention in the Tweet of the Week.

However, is a direct link to the Time Inc.'s Detroit blog. Track their work as they track ours.

See the blog here.

NPR: Despite tough times, some see opportunity in Detroit

Though Detroit continues to lose population, there is a contingent coming to the city with big eyes and a lot of hope, NPR reports.


Meghan McEwen, a magazine editor and mother of two small children, says you can find a family-friendly life inside the city of Detroit. Her husband is Ryan Cooley, the developer. She admits that the city lacks basic urban conveniences, but because she and her husband were able to find real estate so cheap, she's able to work part time.

And she says it's exciting to be part of an effort to rebuild a city.

That enthusiasm gives Lou Glazer, president of Michigan Future Inc., hope. He says the city will never return to its past vibrancy without young, talented professionals. Glazer says the brain drain from the city has been devastating.

It may not be a flood of artists, business owners and young professionals coming back to Detroit, but many in the Motor City say those trickling back in are giving many during these tough times something they haven't had for a long time ... hope.

Read the entire article here.

Celeb chef Anthony Bourdain's 'No Reservations' Detroit, Hamtramck episode debuts on Travel Channel

We finally got to see the fruits of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain's much buzzed about visit to Detroit and Hamtramck. In the episode, he eats at the Polonia Restaurant in Hamtramck, Al-Ameer in Dearborn and the East Side's Cadieux Cafe.

While sucking down mussels and beer at the Cadieux (great choice, Bourdain) he muses: "I am absolutely having the most wonderful time. I am really liking everyone I meet. I have been eating really great food. These mussels are amazing, man." He also marvels at how the people he met had a deep love for the city, and how the most cool cars and music have come from here.

The show first aired Monday, July 27, but repeats (shocking, we know) routinely, including another airing July 30 at 11 p.m. on the Travel Channel. Set the DVR and enjoy.

His blog about his visit can be found here.

Tweet of the Week: Do what your mother says

So vacation is behind us and we're back with the Tweet of the Week. So, what do you have to say?

You should listen to your mother @miel_dulce, always listen to your mother.

@miel_dulce: my mom said to stay in detroit, im totally thinking about it...

We don't know where you are, but we wish you were still in Detroit, too. You can always come back.

@Bizemisty: I wish I was still in Detroit. I hate this place.

Congratulations Earthworks Urban Farm. Keep up the good work. And thanks @AshleySFlintoff for the heads up.

@AshleySFlintoff: Congrats to Earthworks Urban Farm - Detroit's 1st Certified Organic Farm! Check out their work at www.cskdetroit.org/earthworks

Exactly @dlexus2001, don't forget about us, whoever you are.

@dlexus2001: dont' forget bout detroit

And finally, the winner, for our first week back from vacation Tweet of the Week is:

@flamingowojack: Just got back from John K. King Used Bookstore in downtown Detroit. I'm there every week, but I find "new" stuff every time I go there...

True that, @flamingowojack. True that.

Keep reading. Keep tweeting. And see you next week.

Follow us on Twitter here.

Listen up: WDET's 'Home Is More Than Our House' series continues through July

WDET 101.9 FM reporters Rob St. Mary and Zak Rosen continue their coverage this week in their "Home is More Than Our House" series on how Detroiters are facing and fighting the foreclosure crisis.

Listen to Detroit Today on WDET this week for their stories. The program airs from 1-3 p.m. weekdays on 101.9 FM.

This week, Zak will be talking about the collaborate effort to stabilize Boston-Edison with median-income families, which in turn stabilizes the surrounding areas. Also, check out the great piece he did on Habitat for Hamtramck here.

Rob St. Mary offers a story on finding help for the Jewish community in Metro Detroit.

For more on the series, check out their blog: wdetmortgagecrisis.com

fDi Magazine names Detroit a city of the future

fDi Magazine, an investment mag produced by the Financial Times, released their cities of the future list and Detroit fell in at No. 10 for the largest cities of the future.


fDi Magazine’s North American Cities of the Future 2009/10 shortlists, which took more than six months to research and involved the data collection of nearly 400 North American cities, ranks San Francisco, California, as the top large city of the future, followed closely by Austin, Texas. Of the large cities surveyed, San Luis Potosí in Mexico ranks top for cost effectiveness, while Charlotte, North Carolina, ranks top for FDI strategy according to the judging panel.

Read the entire article here.

The bottom-up process is the key to renewal, revival, Richard Florida says

Richard Florida is that creative class guy. Some agree with him, some don't. Wherever you fall on Florida, he does make some good points in his piece in the Atlantic that Detroit should pay attention to.


The most successful shrinking strategies, like Pittsburgh's, are not top-down affairs driven by all-knowing governments, but organic, bottom-up, community-based efforts. While Pittsburgh government and business leadership pressed for large-scale urban renewal - stadium-building, convention centers, and more far-fetched schemes for local mag-lev trains - its real  turnaround was driven by organic, bottom-up initiatives. Community groups, local foundations, and non-profits - not city hall or business-led economic development groups -  were the driving forces behind neighborhood stabilization and redevelopment, university-based economic development, water-front revitalization, park improvements, and green building among others.  This kind of bottom-up process takes considerable time and perseverance. In Pittsburgh's case, it took the better part of a generation to achieve stability and the potential for longer-term revival.

All of which brings us back to a big question: What about people versus place strategies? I agree with Glaeser: people must be the priority. Especially in tough economic times, public investment should flow toward people. Early childhood investments, as James Heckman has shown, are the most important, longest-running and highest-paying investments we make.

Read the entire article here.

Hamtramck ice cream trucks are like snowflakes, no two are alike

The Hamtramck ice cream trucks are just one of the many reasons this 2.2 square-mile city is such an interesting little place.


But that hardly matters, because it's so delightful to listen to "Do Your Ears Hang Low?" again and again that such trifles as needing to pull one's car out would hardly matter. Besides, you get a better look at the truck, appreciating its hand-painted charm. No two are alike, and there are even a few old New York City-area Mr. Softee trucks in the fleet, all creatively decorated and patched up like it's Havana. Watch long enough, and you may even see an unusual ice cream motorcycle putter along — complete with sidecar and rear-mounted freezer case. You'll certainly be tempted to snap a photo or record the delicate warble of the prerecorded ditty, if you can hear it clearly. Sometimes it will be drowned out by motor noise, as all of the trucks seem to use the very latest in loud-engine technology to keep the ice cream cool. 

Once the vehicle stops, the driver and the excited young children begin their gentle negotiations. You might worry that the driver will cut off the music or switch the coolers over to battery power  for a couple minutes, but, thankfully,  he's sure to keep everything running, not wanting to spoil anybody's pleasure. Over the din, you'll often hear at least one of the children ask, "Hey, you won't make a deal?" over and over again before the calorie-jitney finally buzzes off.

Read the entire article here.

Council by Districts initiative is vital to Detroit, Francis Grunow says in Freep

The Council by Districts initiative is vital to Detroit writes Detroit resident, WSU law student, and occasional Model D writer Francis Grunow in the Detroit Free Press.


Which leads me back to the beginning -- we must also take the next clear step to help ensure that districts become reality. A coalition of groups known as Detroiters for City Council by Districts is pushing an important ballot initiative to place this question before voters in November.

Passing this initiative is vital. It would serve as an insurance policy for the citizens of Detroit. There is no guarantee that the charter review process will result in council by districts. In fact, when the council-by-districts question was last considered as part of a charter review in 1993, it was turned down. A successful initiative will mean that the charter debate won't be about whether we need council districts, but how best to implement council districts.

Read the entire article here.

Tweet of the Week: Safety first, Detroit Zoo, and the happy feet skaters triumph

I'm not sure if you've heard but the Red Wings lost the Stanley Cup to the Pittsburgh Penguins. And though we here at Model D love Pittsburgh, especially our sister pub Pop City, we hate the taste of humble pie. We'd much rather have a Coney.

Anyway, let's put the ice behind us and get on with the water. It is summer, after all. Let's also drop in on the Detroit tweeters. And find out what's up.

Here are this weeks memorable tweets:

@ClariceTinsley: Hello Twittizens...70 & sunny in Detroit. FOX 2 is showing the Red Bull Air Races over the Detroit River. Great action & gorgeous sight.

Twittizens? That's funny... So, even if you didn't get a chance to see the air races in person, you probably heard them. Whether its downtown, or around town, we love a good excuse to get out and enjoy the city, as long as it doesn't have you running for cover.

@heathermarie356: is at the Detroit Zoo with my BFF & 2 nieces! Beautiful day!

It seemed like the whole city was basking in the gorgeous weather we've had this past week...

Including this next tweeter, who was getting ready for what sounds like some serious porch-sitting:

@ChrisJMiller: Just finished rebuilding the porch on this house in Detroit. No one will fall off it now, railings are good.

Good work, Chris. Safety first!

And special props to this weeks all-star tweeter, for keeping a winning attitude even after the Wings' bummer of a loss last weekend.  Believe it or not, Detroiters can dish out complements as well as we take them...

@ktpupp: Oh BTW, good morning Detroit! Met some really cool Penguin fans last night. They praised the Wings & look forward to a rematch next year!

Still... It would have been nice to beat them to a pulp. In terms of hockey. Don't take the literally Pittsburgh... we're not that aggressive and weird here in Detroit.

Follow Model D on Twitter here.

Keep readin'. Keep tweetin'. And see you next week.

Song, video celebrates all Detroit has to offer

A couple put together a video celebrating the city's gems. It has a country twang, but we're not talking about John Rich's "Shuttin' Detroit Down." That's for the birds.

Check the video out here.

'Home Is More Than Our House': WDET's coverage of facing Detroit's mortgage crisis

Public radio station WDET FM and Model D have partnered to focus on Detroit's foreclosure crisis and different ways people and neighborhoods are dealing with the issue.

This week, WDET reporter Zak Rosen will have a piece on the citizens of the North End of Detroit, who are teaming up with the Greening of Detroit to reclaim 134 abandoned lots.

Rob St. Mary will have a piece on the Motor City Blight Busters and how foreclosures have affected their work.

Look for his work on the WDET "Home is More Than Our House" blog here. And listen to 101.9 FM during the Detroit Today show for more.

Michigan Radio drops in on Hamtramck's Hatch

The Hamtramck Artists Collective may have an HQ in the coming year thanks to the city selling them the old police department for one dollar.


Listen to the entire piece here.

Immigration may be the key to economic growth in SE Michigan

Even though Southwest Detroit and Hamtramck are beacons of diversity, Detroit and Michigan could do a lot better when attracting immigrants, which have proved to be a source of economic growth within communities.


"To have a strong Detroit, a strong Southeast Michigan, immigrants are a necessary component," Tobocman says. "We need a welcome mat for these citizens, housing services, and employer services. We're thinking on what some of these out-of-the-box strategies could be for immigration growth."

Global Detroit began in March of this year and Tobocman says they've already discussed dozens upon dozens of strategies, some of which have already been implemented in other states. Ideas like welcoming centers for new Michiganders, internship programs to retain foreign students after college graduation, or a regional center that pools foreign investment (of $500k or more) for local development -- which would create American jobs -- in return for a visa (called the EB-5).

As Southeast Michigan stands now, and for most of the Rustbelt for that matter, there aren't any honest to goodness strategies in place. Efforts haven't gotten past a welcome center in Detroit's Mexicantown and one recently instituted in Philadelphia. These centers give new immigrants soft landings into communities and urban areas, plugging them in as much as possible.

Read the entire article here.

Additionally, Wayne State University is hosting a film event playing "Regional Roots" that will discuss Detroit's 300 years of history and how immigrants helped shape what the city is today.

Get more information here. A trailer for the film can be found here.

Detroit tweetin': Detroit's tweet of the week

Well, why not, right? It's a social media world and people have a lot to say - especially about our beloved city. So how about a Tweet of the Week?

This week, the big inaugural winner of our Tweet of the Week (can we call it a Tweek - get it!?) goes to @BrownSugarFX with this little gem that made us smile: Detroit smells delightfully of spring-time flowers.

This tweet showed up on a Thursday, in the afternoon. It was a nice little pick-me-up after a little bit of rain. And a nice reminder to stop and smell the flowers.

So, @BrownSugarFx, congratulations! You win a year's subscription to Model D. Keep smelling Detroit! Er, wait, keep smelling Detroit's flowers.

Here are a few runners up from the last week:

@eatsntreatsdet: Mon Treat: Taste Pizza Bar dwntwn Detroit +$5 MOJITOS ALL DAY +Best Pizza in the City +chic & urban vibe

'Cause everyone needs a Monday treat so why not with pizza and mojitos.

@AbraKhadaver: algo tiene "Put your hands up for Detroit" que hace que me guste

Not exactly sure what this means but I think it's positive. Asked a friend to translate over the internet. It was no help. Feel free to tweet us the translation here: @modeld.

@JamesDDickson: I have such a love-hate relationship with Detroit.

It's true, we all do. But, if you think about it, love gets boring after a while. Sometimes you need a little adversity to realize the love. Am I wrong?

As Hamtramck's 74-year-old paper dies another is planned in its place

The news void left by the shutting down of Hamtramck's 74-year-old weekly the Citizen two weeks ago isn't expected to last long. It's planned that the Hamtramck Review is starting up this week.


So it’s interesting that, despite the black eyes, the paper still had enough goodwill in the community to foster talk of reviving it, either as The Citizen or as something else. When we heard that the paper’s now-unemployed editor Charles Sercombe was meeting with stakeholders at Hamtramck’s Café 1923 Wednesday night, we motored over for the news. There, on the sunny back patio of the coffeehouse, Sercombe announced to a handful of council members, newspaper folk — from reporters to cartoonists — that he had been tentatively retained to head up a new community newspaper, scheduled for publication starting one week from Friday.

Tentatively called The Hamtramck Review, it’s backed by Michigan-based publisher Mike Wilcox, whose company publishes two papers in outstate Claire. Wilcox is no stranger to Hamtramck, having bought The Citizen in 2002 and sold it in 2007, and Sercombe says Wilcox’s old sales connections have already lined up advertisers, with competitive ad rates.

Read the entire article here.

Model D is looking for an intern or two for the summer

Model D is looking for an intern to help out on the editorial side of things. This position is unpaid except for any feature stories published. We're looking for one, maybe two, lucky candidates to work 15-20 hours a week. Interns will help out with various projects and events, update listings, write stories and get us coffee. No, just kidding, we get our own coffee.

A journalism background is a plus. Knowing the city is an even bigger plus. Knowing a little about online media is a bonus.

If interested please send a cover letter and resume to terry@modeldmedia.com.

CBC interviews Design 99 duo on the $100 house phenom

The interviews continue with Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope of Design 99 as CBC interviews them.


Artist Gina Reichert and designer Mitch Cope weren't content to let that happen to the city where they live.

They bought a foreclosed home for $1,900 US last year and turned it into both an experiment in operating off the power grid and a centre to link artists and the local community.

"We really like to think that art is a catalyst and a bridge between all sorts of people and places," Reichert told CBC News.

"So the goal is the house acts as a forum to attract artists and designers and architects from other places to come and see the positive things about Detroit. It's really easy to find the negatives, but underneath all of that there's a really active culture and active community."

Read the entire article here.

NYTimes finds Detroit's music scene vibrant, packed

New York Times finds the places where Detroit's music scene flourishes. There's even a mention of Hamtramck's Blowout.


IN a city whose name is forever entwined with that of Motown Records, it is tempting to expect to hear songs like “Dancing in the Streets” blaring constantly from speakers on light posts, or to see Eminem or Kid Rock shooting videos on the downtown streets.

But Motown left town a generation ago, leaving behind only the small white house that is home to the Motown Historical Museum (2648 West Grand Boulevard; 313-975-2264; www.motownmuseum.com). And while Eminem and Kid Rock still live and record there, they keep lower local profiles than their fame might suggest.

But the clubs where they and other Detroit acts got their starts are still very much a part of the city, developing performers who could join the ranks of other famous Detroit artists. Even though the city, and its auto industry, have been hit by hard times that threaten some venerable places, live music endures in the Motor City.

Read the entire article here.

Here's one more reminder: Model D is now on Twitter

It's been great so far, the tweeting. Though we'd just drop in one more reminder. So, everyone, keep tweeting. Can we call it a Model D Tweet Shop?

Follow us at Model D Twitter feed. Talk to us. Give us feedback. And stay engaged. Also, join our group on the other social media giant Facebook for updates.

On top of that, we'll be out covering Detroit's nightlife during the NCAA's Final Four. There are sponsored events by the NCAA but there are also a lot of un-sponsored events... If you know what we're sayin'. So, let us know where you'll be and what you'll be doing and we'll do the same for you.

See you out and about. www.twitter.com/modeld

Dwell weighs in on Detroit's developing design

Dwell Magazine, who has been here before to check out Lafayette Park's Mies van der Rohe development, returns to talk to Design 99 and where Detroit design could go.


The first Power house Project location is an architectural manifesto-in-progress, with fresh paint, new landscaping, and an attic camera obscura the latest additions. (Their status as urban-art homesteaders – and their feelings about being newly minted media darlings – is described on Detroit's Model D blog.) 

Spectators to all this interest in Detroit as smoldering metaphor and tabula rasa are the rest of Detroit's one million residents, who may have an opinion or two about outsiders' views of their city. In his Times article, Barlow mentions that some German artists are thinking of relocating to Detroit to build a giant, two-story beehive; as hopeful as all these stories are, when Germans pick your town to build their beehive, you know there's nowhere to go but up.

Read the entire article here.

NPR, 20/20 and Anderson Cooper put spotlight on Detroit, Design 99

Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert have been busy since Toby Barlow's piece found its way into the New York Times. Here's a round up of the pieces that have made their way into the national media.


"Our idea — instead of putting it all back and connecting to the grid, we wanted to keep it off the grid and get enough solar and wind turbines and batteries to power this house and power the next-door house," Cope says.

He thinks he can make the whole place operate "off the grid" for around $60,000, a cost he hopes to help cover with grants. And, since the whole point of the project is to better the neighborhood, Cope wants to turn the first floor of the Power House into a neighborhood art center. The second floor will be a bedroom for visiting artists; Cope believes that if he can just get artists to visit the neighborhood, they'll want to stay. And he hopes the cheap real estate will lure them there.

Read the NPR article here... and the ABC 20/20 article here... and Anderson Cooper filming from Warren (about Detroit) here.

Also, Detroit blogger Supergay drops in on Anderson: "So Keira and I arrived and it turned out the only two seats remaining were at a table right in front. Like seriously front row. Let me be explicitly clear right here: I sat for three hours with an unobstructed view of Anderson Cooper's backside. It did not suck."

Read more about Anderson Cooper's posterior here.

Oh... and one more interesting piece about this topic and urban sustainability here.

Could Detroit be the next Berlin?

Berlin and Detroit have many parallels even though they are in very different positions right now. Berlin's post-industrial landscape coupled with the huge influx of artists and musicians has made the city a vibrant, growing place. Detroit could be that. Detroit may be a fledgling Berlin.


Is Detroit the next Berlin? For the past several years, artists, musicians and others seeking time and space to work, and an inexpensive place to live have flocked to the German city. Now it seems that Detroit may be headed towards a similar influx of like-minded people.

Read the entire article here.

Detroit's border shouldn't end at Eight Mile

The Detroit city council, as of late, could probably have its own VH1 reality show with all the drama, controversy, and, some would say, flat out ignorance it has portrayed. Lately, the question of division has cropped up and what is and isn't a Detroiter? Division is only productive when it comes to math and recycling. Yet, it seems as if some on the city council haven't figured that out yet, according to Detnews columnist Nolan Finley.


Why on earth would a city in such desperate straits build a wall between itself and its best potential allies?

A smarter marketing strategy would be to encourage more people to boast that they are citizens of Detroit, in spirit if not by address.

If more suburbanites identified themselves internally as Detroiters, it might put an end to our infernal turf wars.

And we'd have more folks who gave a damn that Detroit is rotting away, that it's under siege by the worst forces of urban life, that it's been neglected and abandoned and nobody outside our small corner of the world cares.

Instead, the council is advocating the very black-white, city-suburban divides that are responsible for Detroit's decline.

Read the entire article here.

Another piece from the Metro Times about being a Detroiter can be found here.

Want a little more Model D? Then follow us on Twitter

We're there. We've done it. We're on Twitter now. We have a Facebook group, might as well have a Twitter feed, too.

Our hope is to offer a little more insight into what we're doing and when we're doing it. We don't want it to just be another RSS feed.

So follow us. Talk to us. Give us feedback. And do it all right here: Model D Twitter feed

Mother Jones blogs about Detroit, the new American dream

Detroit writer Toby Barlow's piece in the NYTimes about the $100 homes went around and around a number of media outlets. One reference about it came out on Mother Jones. And though it was mostly snippets of the article, it put forth some interesting ideas. More so than most of the other reposters of Barlow's article.


"Detroit right now is just this vast, enormous canvas where anything imaginable can be accomplished," says the Times author, Toby Barlow. "In a way, a strange, new American dream can be found here, amid the crumbling, semi-majestic ruins of a half-century’s industrial decline." I find this fascinating. Politicians talk all the time about the ingenuity and resilience of the American people. We all know that rhetoric can feel empty at times. But as this country begins its climb out of this recession, real life examples of that fighting spirit will abound. And the places that were hit the hardest will and already are seeing them first.

Read the entire post here.

When $100 homes aren't always a bad thing

Detroit writer Toby Barlow explains that Detroit's $100 homes aren't a bad thing, especially for artists.


Now, three homes and a garden may not sound like much, but others have been quick to see the potential. A group of architects and city planners in Amsterdam started a project called the “Detroit Unreal Estate Agency” and, with Mitch’s help, found a property around the corner. The director of a Dutch museum, Van Abbemuseum, has called it “a new way of shaping the urban environment.” He’s particularly intrigued by the luxury of artists having little to no housing costs. Like the unemployed Chinese factory workers flowing en masse back to their villages, artists in today’s economy need somewhere to flee.

But the city offers a much greater attraction for artists than $100 houses. Detroit right now is just this vast, enormous canvas where anything imaginable can be accomplished. From Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project (think of a neighborhood covered in shoes and stuffed animals and you’re close) to Matthew Barney’s “Ancient Evenings” project (think Egyptian gods reincarnated as Ford Mustangs and you’re kind of close), local and international artists are already leveraging Detroit’s complex textures and landscapes to their own surreal ends.

Read the entire article here.

Englishman in Detroit says the 'Blowout is the best festival ever put on anywhere in the world'

New Detroiter, hailing from London, hits Hamtramck's Blowout and it blows his mind.


Holy shit, I love the Blowout. I may have only just arrived home (at what I thought was 2 a.m. but what my computer clock is telling me is 3 a.m. – damn) and therefore still be enjoying the memories that are very fresh in my mind, but I think that this year’s Blowout is the best festival ever put on anywhere in the world. Ever. Frankly, you can stick your Woodstock up your ass.

Having lived in London for 10 years and traveled extensively, I’m fairly sure that this is a festival that could only happen in Detroit. In London, New York or L.A., the venues wouldn’t pull together in this manner and there wouldn’t be enough decent local bands to make the thing work. As an Englishman who chose to live here 14 months ago, I truly believe that this is the greatest city in the world, and the Blowout highlights the fact.

Read the entire blog post here.

The Blowout gets a nod from NPR

National Public Radio looks in on the Blowout in Hamtramck.

Listen to the audio here.

Hamtramck's diversity is still trumped by the Polish paczki

Hamtramck isn't just a little Polish town nearly surrounded by Detroit anymore. It's much more diverse these days. Still, on a certain Tuesday in February, everyone is Polish.


The city occupies two square miles and once was the premier destination for people from Poland who were new to America. The former Pope John Paul II even made it a point to visit the Catholic and Polish city.

But now the city that touches Detroit's east side is home to a thriving mix of ethnicities and visitors are just as likely to hear a family from Bangladesh speaking as they are to hear an older resident speak fondly of his or her babciais (Polish for grandmother).

There are more than 20 different languages spoken in Hamtramck, according city officials, but on Fat Tuesday, everybody is Polish.

Read the entire article here.

Mmmmmm... packzi: Countdown to 2009 Paczki Day festivities in Hamtramck

Hamtramck gears up for Paczki Day 2009.


On Saturday, Feb. 21 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. the City of Hamtramck will host the annual family-friendly Paczki Day celebration, Countdown to Paczki Day. This year's events will include a Paczki bake-off competition, free Paczki, polka music from Misty Blues, traditional Polish dancers, the First Annual Paczki Toss, and the first annual "Paczki Express" Bakery Bus Tour and much more. Admission is free.

On Tuesday, Feb. 24, the city buzzes with heady good times and gluttony galore. Hamtramck favorites, the Polish Muslims, the Keilbasa Kings, Polka Floyd and others will make the rounds at various Hamtramck venues (see schedule here). Also, various Hamtramck bars and bakeries will commemorate the holiday with day-long bar crawls, giveaways, traditional Polish drinks and food, plus spirited abandon. They don't call this February fun ''the Polish St. Patrick's Day'' for nothing, folks.

Read the rest of the article here.

Peoples State Bank, established in 1909, lights 100 candles as Hamtramck's oldest business

When the bank opened, Hamtramck was still a village farmed by German immigrants. Assets began to boom with the auto industry in the teens and 1920s.


Hamtramck Historical Commission Chairman Greg Kowalski takes a look back at the humble beginnings of the bank.

Peoples State Bank continued to grow through the years but never lost sight of its successful business formula. In 1986, the bank was rated No.1 in safety and soundness by Money magazine.  

Peoples State Bank has changed much through the years. The bank building was remodeled to reflect a more modern age, and it greatly expanded operations by adding branch offices and merging with Madison National Bank in the 1990s as well as expanding the scope of its services.

Read the entire article here.

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain brings his travel channel show to Detroit, Hamtramck

Writer and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain brought his acclaimed Travel Channel show "No Reservations" to Detroit and Hamtramck for an upcoming episode.


"I'm not interested in places where we sell cheeseburgers to each other," Bourdain says. "I'm interested in places where people make things, and where mom-and-pop businesses grow up around those businesses to feed the people who make the things."

Many are immigrant families who open up restaurants to feed other immigrants from their own countries, "and Detroit has a lot of that," he adds.

If one thing impressed him about the people he met here, he said, it was their character and sense of humor, "even when there doesn't seem to be much to laugh about."

Read the entire article here.

The Detroit News finds 50 fun things to do under $50

Explore Hamtramck and Mexican town, grab a play at Planet Ant, go for a drink at Enoteca, check out the DIA, the Detroit Historical Museum, and D'Mongo's Speakeasy. These are just a few of the things that The Detroit News came up with to do under 50 bucks.


Having a good time doesn't mean you have to break your piggy bank. There are various inexpensive ways for families, couples and singles to find fun. Take some of the guesswork out of finding a good time on a budget with our list of 50 value-conscious activities that will take you from the museum to a hipster hotspot -- all for less than $50.

See the entire list here.

Christmas comes to Hamtramck's Planet Ant

Planet Ant, which keeps the gaze of the theater world in SE Michigan toward Hamtramck, has a holiday comedy that has moved from Webisodes to the stage in "A Very Ced n Teri Xmas."


Few theaters in Southeast Michigan have done more in recent years to encourage, develop and stage new works by local up-and-coming artists than Hamtramck's Planet Ant Theatre. Many - if not most - have come from the fertile imaginations of the area's improv community, and critical response has generally been quite favorable. In fact, since 2004, 15 original comedies have received Wilde Awards nominations for Best Production, and a few - Joseph Zettelmaier's "All Childish Things" and Lauren Bickers' "Danceical: The Musical" - have had subsequent productions elsewhere.

The Ant's latest original comedy, "A Very Ced n Teri Xmas," has taken a different route to the stage, however.

Read the entire article here.

Read a Freep piece about the play here.

Time looks at Detroit auto industry's forgotten legacy of diversity

TIME looks at the Detroit auto industry's role in creating a melting pot of workers and a diverse metro Detroit.


"Detroit is truly a huge melting pot," says Alee Darwish, 53, a retired assembly line worker employed by Ford Motor Company for 32 years. "The car companies were no doubt responsible for that." Like other Lebanese who flocked to the area in the early 1900's, Darwish's father immigrated to the U.S. seeking a job at Henry Ford's Model T plant, as the pioneering automobile entrepreneur was offering a large $5 a day. Following in his footsteps, both his sons ended up as career hourly employees at Ford, applying sealer to the seams of metal on the assembly line. "I worked hard, saved my money, and eventually opened a Coney Island diner and a pizzeria on the side while I worked full-time at the plant," says a proud Darwish, now married with two children. "Ford was good to us."

Read the entire article here.

The Economist touches on Muslim life in Detroit, Hamtramck

The Economist comes to Detroit and Hamtramck and takes a brief look at Muslim life in the area.


Meanwhile Hamtramck (population 26,000) is changing from a Polish enclave into a growing Muslim one. Schools now compete for Muslim students, says Sally Howell of the University of Michigan. Mohamad Issa, who founded Bridge Academy and seven other charter schools, says his establishments are not religious; they can’t be, as they get public money. But Muslims like the Arabic classes, days off for Muslim holidays and space for voluntary prayers. Detroit’s public schools struggle to catch up; some offer Arabic classes and halal food.

Muslims in Detroit, thanks to strong institutions and numbers, feel better than elsewhere in America, though they still face prejudice, say Ms Howell and Amaney Jamal of Princeton University in a joint study. And no less than in Europe, local politics fosters odd alliances. Last month, Catholics induced Muslims in Hamtramck to vote down a gay-rights ordinance. Both there and in Detroit, Muslims and Latinos have co-operated to restrict racial profiling.

Read the entire article here.

Rock 'n' Rummage Sale set for Oct. 11 at Hamtramck's Painted Lady

Rock 'n' Rummage will be hosting their Treats and Treasures Show on Oct. 11 at Hamtramck's Painted Lady. Ten vendors will be on hand serving up CDs, vinyl, vintage, and just about everything else you can find at a rummage sale.


Rock 'N' Rummage isn't your moms typical yard sale!!!

So you're sitting in Metro Detroit bar, and people start setting up tables with stacks of vinyl records, t-shirts, and nostalgic items with words attached to them like "The Goonies", "Garbage Pail Kids", and "The Dark Crystal". No, this isn't a retrospective decade show on VH1. This is Rock 'N' Rummage you have just witnessed.

Rock 'N' Rummage brings the yard, garage, market, and fair into a bar/coffee house setting. The event is centered around music, drinking, and merchandise.

For more information go here.

People's Arts Festival brings out the people, art

The People's Art Festival, despite a week's postponement, brought out droves of people, art, and artists. It was a large Sunday gathering inside a Detroit post-industrial landscape.day gathering inside a Detroit post-industrial landscape.


After being rained out last weekend, the People’s Arts Festival at the Russell Industrial Center in Detroit had some tough competition today with the Funky Ferndale Art Fair going on less than 10 miles away.

But that didn’t stop the crowds from coming out en masse on the last day of summer to what has become the largest arts festival in Detroit, according to its Web site. 2008 marked just the second year of the festival, which opened at 11 a.m. today and runs through midnight.

“It’s going pretty good, better than it was last year,” said John Robinson, 67, of Flat Rock, a security guard at the Russell Industrial Center. “They’re coming out like flies and there are no places to park.”

Read the entire article here.

American Table goes on a food tour, comes to Detroit

Detroit is a music town, a sports town, a car town, and, don't forget, a food town, too. American Table is coming here on a food tour to show why. They'll be here June 26-28, visiting eateries from Hamtramck to the River, from Eastern Market to Ann Arbor. So, please wear you fat pants.


The food favored by Michiganders is an amalgam of global dishes, imported to the Motor City by generations of immigrants in search of steady work. On this tour, which begins at the plant that produced the first Model T's, we'll examine the contents of the lunch pails carried by the men and women who built our nation's auto industry. Highlights of this tour include intimate group baking lessons at the city's top ethnic pastry shops, a private tour of the nation's leading pistachio factory hosted by Detroit Tigers centerfielder Curtis Granderson and a five-course feast prepared by Zingerman's Roadhouse chef and James Beard nominee Alex Young to celebrate the Southerners who heeded Ford's call to come north.

Get more information and to register go here.

Hamtramck commences Clean Sweep this Saturday

The Hamtramck Beautification Commission and volunteers are hitting the streets this Saturday, May 17, for some spring cleaning.

The project lasts10-4 and volunteers are asked to meet up at either People's Community Services, 8625 Jos. Campau, or ACTS 29, 12049 Jos. Campau.

Co-owner of Cafe 1923 Sean Kowalski, who is helping with the event, said 120 volunteers showed up last year.

For more info contact Kowalski at coffee@cafe1923.com

Film development Web site says, 'Send them to Detroit'

CHUD.com (Cinematic Happenings Under Development) says Detroit's on it's way to more and more filming projects with it's 40 percent tax incentive for film makers.

In fact, just last week, the Detroit Free Press reported 13 new projects were signed.


Detroit is the new Shreveport.

Actually, "another Shreveport" is more accurate, as Michigan is just the latest state to offer up generous tax credits for feature film productions (New Mexico is another attractive suitor, which is why movie stars are now spotted roaming the dusty, windswept streets of Albuquerque). Though my Hollywood neighbors won't dig this too much, a part of me is happy to see Detroit getting some love on the big screen - even if they're mostly going to use it as another stand in for New York City.

Read the entire article here.

Hamtramck's Design 99 offers 'not necessarily furniture'

Hamtramck's Design 99 duo, husband and wife Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert,
are launching a publications department inside their store on Jos. Campau called D99.

Their first two pubs are A People's Guide to Detroit - personal narratives and individual experiences of living in the city - and Shipwrecked - photography by Cope, Scott Hocking, and Corine Smith.

Visit Design 99 here, and also read up on their upcoming show that bring together local artists for a furniture, but not really furniture, show.

Hamtramck-produced web 'sit' com to screen episode 8 May 4 at Park Bar

The low-budget web "sit" com Ced n Teri is set in Hamtramck and pokes fun at the city's eccentricities. Each episode features a performance from a Detroit band and debuts at a public screening at the Park Bar.

Episode 8 will screen on May 4 at 10 p.m. and will be followed by a performance by this episode's featured musician, Jamie McCarthy.

Check out past episodes here.

Chicago scribe takes in Detroit over a weekend

Chicago Sun-Times writer Dave Hoekstra spent an action-packed weekend in Detroit. He stayed at MGM Grand, took in the Holy Hip Hop! exhibit at MOCAD, took in a Red Wings game and ventured to Record Graveyard in Hamtramck. And he loved every minute of it, apparently.


And no regional destination evokes a response like Detroit.

"Deeeeeetroit?" they always ask. Then they begin riffing the darkest visions from a Bukowski novel.

I like underdog Rust Belt cities. I find real connections in these places. It's easy to park.

There's a guarded vulnerability in old urban centers like Detroit. So many people are going, they're glad to see you coming.

Read the entire article here.

Grad student debates options for Detroit's redevelopment

A University of Michigan graduate student in urban planning, Joseph Ciadella, crafts a cogent op-ed piece about Detroit corporate development strategy as opposed to smaller, organic strategies.


"Sustainability, local economy, and community are three pillars of the path not-yet taken in Detroit. A path that moves beyond downtown development, beyond 'cool cities.' The Imagination Economy can be an authentic expression of who we are," writes Jackie Victor, co-founder of Avalon Bakery, highlighting not only her business model, but also broader themes of local reliance and self-determination. These themes are not present on the same level in city redevelopment policies, given the uneven focus on downtown, which, much like suburban sprawl, ignores, displaces, and perpetuates racial and class divisions in society that have been a part of Detroit’s (and other cities) history for years.

Read the entire piece here.

MSHDA funds to target blight in Hamtramck, Detroit and Highland Park

The cities of Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck may be receiving funds from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority targeted at specific blighted properties.


Detroit’s targeted share is $2 million for 729 properties, while Highland Park and Pontiac each could receive $400,000 for 100 properties in each of their cities. Hamtramck’s targeted share is $52,000 for 13 properties.

In a news release, Gov. Jennifer Granholm said that “by providing resources to eliminate blight, we will help make neighborhoods safer for citizens and more inviting for businesses and economic investments."

Read the entire article here.

Blowout brings more than just bands and beers to Hamtramck

The Hamtramck Blowout brings hordes of music lovers into the city. Most will just hit up participating bars, but others get off the beaten path and discover what else the unique and diverse city has to offer.

Read about it from our own Walter Wasacz in the Metro Times' Blahg.


Almost everyone knows about Polish Village, but the hot buffet at Bozek's Meats (on Caniff, across the street from Al-Haramin) is recommended for a quicker carryout back to the crib, as is Krakus, just north of the city limits in Detroit on Jos. Campau near Halleck. Almost the entire length of Conant has a sub-continental Northern Indian flavor and is primarily Bangladeshi-owned.

Read the entire article here.

Cool Hunting targets Hamtramck's Design 99 and Ornj Bags

Shopping blog Cool Hunting likes Ornj Bags -- cleverly crafted from orange construction fencing -- and points consumers to Hamtramck's Design 99 to find them.


While no one can complain about the incremental progress reshaping downtown Detroit, Shock was unnerved by the prevalence of the orange plastic swathing the city and wanted to make something of it. “I was inspired by the material’s vibrant color, malleability, and strength,” he writes. “I first was going to create a simple laundry bag to carry my stuff down the three flights of stairs in my apartment but later realized what a great tote bag it would make for going to the market.”

Read more here.

Mo Rocca visits Paczki Day for CBS Sunday news

Ain't no party like a paczki party! That's what Mo Rocca found out on his visit to Hamtramck's Paczki Day celebration.

His short for CBS Sunday can be found here.

Design*Sponge offers savvy, comprehensive guide to Detroit design

Design*Sponge invited local blogger Sweet Juniper to write an entry on Detroit for its city design guide series. The result is super-thorough and manages to be egalitarian while separating the wheat from the chaff.


The importance of the automobile in Detroit’s history and decline cannot be understated, and it plays an equally important role in the area’s tradition of design. Automobile design is often ignored by mid-century enthusiasts who might prefer a Saarinen womb chair to a sweet 1957 Lincoln Premiere Two-Door Hardtop, though the origins of both can be traced here to the Detroit area. Not only is Detroit home to a large population of artists attracted to the affordable standard of living, available space, and inspirational post-industrial cityscape, but also many professional designers who work primarily in the automotive field.

Read the entire post here.

Innovative Hamtown retailer hosts winter shopping party Dec. 15

Design 99, a Hamtramck-based business that combines retailing with design consultation, is hosting what it calls a Winter Extravaganza this Saturday, Dec. 15, 6-9 p.m. The shop sells custom lights, furniture and ubercoolische items like the FM Buddha Machine, a portable ambient soundbox that is small enough to fit in your pocket.

Free cider and popcorn balls will be available. For more info go here.

Wayne County's TURBO program spurs $40M in development

Wayne County's TURBO (Transforming Underdeveloped Residential and Business Opportunities) is being used to catalyze challenging developments -- $40 million in just its first year of operation.


Developers may get a 100 percent tax rebate for the first year of construction and an amount equal to 50 percent of their taxes in cash rebates over the next five years for new construction or total rehabilitation projects. Partial rehabilitation and projects involving brownfield development can also get cash rebates under the program.

TURBO incentives have been used to jump-start several developments, creating about 700 permanent and construction jobs, Ficano said. These include retail projects in Highland Park and Detroit.

Read the entire article here.

Popartmonkey teams with Midtown shop to launch textile line

It's about time you cuddled on the couch or gone shopping with a popartmonkey. How's that? Well, now it's possible thanks to Hamtramck-based artist Carl Oxley III, who is introducing a new line of pillows and coin purses with his signature colorful creature imagery.

The launch party for the textiles is Oct. 10, 5 - 9 p.m., at the Bureau of Urban Living, the newish Midtown retailer that sells all things mod and fashionable for the home or office. Expect to see pillows with gooey-eyed girafffes, electrified rabbits, dancing robots and more, all priced to buy. Oxley will also have new paintings available. If you can't make the launch, the items will be available during regular business hours. The shop is open Tuesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. 
The Bureau of Urban Living is at 460 W. Canfield, Detroit. For more information call 313-833-9336.

Learn about Hamtramck's revitalization at Sept. 27 event

Cafe 1923 will host a Women In Communication event that will discuss Hamtramck's economic revitalization as well as the town's media.

Speakers will include Mayor Karen Majewski, Community and Economic Development Director Erik Tungate and writer Michelle Jiompkowski.

Find out more here.

Crain's house party draws 900

Crain's Detroit Business' second annual Ultimate House Party drew 900 people. After visiting individual houses across the city, revelers converged at the Ren Cen.


Jerome Raska and Robbin Yelverton, co-owners of Detroit-based florist Blumz ... by JR Designs, opened their University District home to House Party guests both this year and last. About 20 partiers mingled inside of the historic home, which was built in 1926, and the backyard, which features a number of lush plants and floral arrangements.

Raska said he and Yelverton participated in the House Party because they wanted to showcase the historic homes in their neighborhood and the home they've lived in since 1997.

"We're very proud to be Detroit residents," Raska said.

Read the entire article here.

Crain's to host second Ultimate House Party

Crain's Detroit Business is hosting its second annual Ultimate House Party on Sept. 20, when people will get a chance to learn about living in Detroit by hanging out in a private residence. Then all guests head over to the Ren Cen for a big after-bash.

Find out more and register here.

Tons of fun on the agenda for this weekend

If you thought summer fun was over -- well, not quite yet. This weekend is jam-packed with a bike ride, art opening, art festival, music festival, pub crawl and a clean-up of Cass Park.

Check out:

The People's Art Festival at Russell Industrial Center: Art. Music. Art. Free.

The 6th Annual Tour de Troit bike ride: A two-wheeled tour of the Motor City.

The St. Albertus Music Festival: Cool bands + historic church + Polish food = good time.

The Detroit Synergy 5th Anniversary Pub Crawl: Nine downtown bars. 'Nuff said.

Black & Black Art Show at the UFO Gallery: All black artwork by 12 artists from Detroit, New York and Rotterdam.

Cass Park clean-up: A fitness track will be built at the park in addition to the clean-up. Men's Health Magazine will be covering the event. To register, email volunteer@recycledetroit.com or call 313-770-1571.

LISC community development awards to be given Sept. 20

Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corporation, better known as LISC Detroit, will celebrate the success of the city's community development corporations at its annual awards luncheon on Sept. 20.

The luncheon is at noon at the Antheneum Hotel in Greektown. For ticket information contact Detroit LISC at 313-596-8222.

Forbes names Detroit 21st best city for singles

In its annual rankings of how well singles cities fare in 40 metropolises, Detroit came out twenty-first.

Read about Detroit's ranking here and the magazine's intro to the feature here.

Detroit humming with activity over Labor Day weekend

So much to do over Labor Day Weekend...

Downtown, there's the Detroit International Jazz Festival, while the Michigan State Fair wraps up on Monday. There's also the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix and the Hamtramck Labor Day Festival.

Only in Detroit: Herbie Hancock, Alice Cooper, Danica Patrick and the Polish Muslims. Model D hopes you have a great holiday weekend!

TheDetroiter.com tells what came before the galleries

Nick Sousanis has done the city a service by compiling short histories of some of Detroit's art galleries. Fascinating read.


While “loft” living has become trendy now – they’re creating such things from scratch in Royal Oak and even in Detroit (which seems such a betrayal of the definition of such spaces), this embrace of reuse of spaces has long been championed by arts. It is in keeping with the vision of preservationists, and certainly environmentalists – it’s reduce, reuse, recycle all in one act. It just makes sense on a lot of levels.

Read the entire article here.

Crain's special issue showcases living in the D

Crain's Detroit Business has published an extremely comprehensive guide to living and investing in the D, including a slide show, views into two days of five households' lives, information on tax credits and much, much more.

The theme is definitely clear: some people living here actually like it.

The special section's gateway page is 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.

Hamtramck arts incubator established

HATCH, a creative arts incubator, has been established in Hamtramck. It is the first of its kind in the state.


HATCH was conceived as "a place where art can breed, where ideas are born," explains its founder and president, photography professor Christopher Schneider.

"People get a good impression of a place if it has art hanging around, some landscaping, murals, and coffeehouses. Artists are bringing some life to the community," says HATCH charter member and course instructor Matt Feazell, cartoonist and creator of The Amazing Cynicalman comics series.

Read the entire article here.

Lasalle Bank commits start-up funds to DEGC to help eliminate "food desert"

Lasalle Bank has committed $15,000 to help the Detroit Economic Development Corporation establish a fund that would target areas of Detroit in need of fresher food options.


The DEGC could complete an agreement with a consultant for setting up the fund soon, said Olga Savic, the DEGC's director of strategy and external affairs.

The fund will be patterned after a one in Pennsylvania called the Fresh Food Financing Initiative. The 3-year-old fund, which started with $38 million, has financed 26 grocery stores to date with $23 million in financing, Savic said.

The financing fund ties into the DEGC's work with Social Compact, a national nonprofit it contracted with to identify market strengths and needs in Detroit.

"We were already planning to look at this issue of grocery stores and to be able to have a data-driven strategy around choosing sites for grocery stores," Savic said.

Read the entire article here.

Immigrants contribute to Hamtramck's vibrancy, economy

Hamtramck's growing immigrant population contributes to the city's diversity and vibrancy -- as well as spawning an increasing number of small businesses that are boosting its economy.


"Real cities remain viable by serving their marketplace," says Erik Tungate, Hamtramck's director of community and economic development, who estimates the 2.2 square mile city contains anywhere from 500 to 700 businesses – 30 to 40% of them immigrant-owned. Since the 1980s, the Conant Street district alone, he says, has migrated from a mainly Polish influence to a veritable United Nations, where business owners represent about 30 different ethnicities. 

"To be a student of Hamtramck you have to be a student of Detroit," says Tungate. "Over the past five years, it's been miraculous, like raising the dead here. In the next five years I see greater downtown Detroit – the T formed by midtown south to the Detroit River and then east and west along the riverfront – completely gentrifying. Hamtramck will become even more of a hotbed of immigration because it's a walkable, affordable enclave just outside of the greater downtown Detroit area."
Read entire article here.

Detroit Renaissance unveils regional revival strategies

Details of Detroit Renaissance's "Road to Renaissance" plan have been unveiled. The three-year plan is expected to cost $75-80 million, $50 million of which will go towards business accelerators -- including TechTown and NextEnergy.

Two of the 11 strategies include:

  • Establishing a “Creative Corridor” on Woodward Avenue that attracts and retains creative talent, inspires output from the creative community and increases the creative industries locally.

  • Starting a “Creative Business Accelerator” in the corridor to foster start-ups and accelerate the growth of existing creative businesses.
Read the entire here.

TONIGHT: TRU's quarterly meeting to discuss DDOT efforts to bring rapid transit to Detroit

Transportation Riders United will host its quarterly meeting April 17. The meeting will discuss DDOT's Detroit Transit Options for  Growth Study as well as TRU's latest projects.

The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Guardian Building.

10-year plan to end homelessness announced

A multi-faceted plan intended to end homelessness in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck has been developed by the Homeless Action Network. It targets five key areas: prevention, housing, supportive services, community engagement and collaboration.


The plan, created over the past two years, includes input from numerous stakeholder and community partners in the three cities, including the Homeless Action Network,, City Connect, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Cynthia Pasky, CEO and President of Strategic Business Solutions.

Read the entire article here.

AT&T donates $1.2M for youth technology access

The AT&T Foundation has made a $1.2 million grant to the Detroit Youth Foundation to provide Detroit youth with access to technology.


"The AT&T grant will allow Detroit youth the opportunity to have practical, hands-on experience using technology," said Gerald K. Smith, DYF president and CEO. "Access to technology is vital in today’s world. This funding will provide our youth with the experience they need in order to succeed in the future."

Read the entire article here.

TRU launches transit design competition

Transportation Riders United, a metro Detroit transit advocacy group, is sponsoring a design competition on the future of mass transit in the area.


"Detroit in Transit: Visions of a Region on the Move" is looking for drawings and designs of what Detroit’s future transit and transit-oriented neighborhoods would look like with convenient, high-quality rapid transit.
"What we’re really hoping to do is launch a public conversation about what rapid transit can do to revitalize a city like Detroit," says Megan Owens, executive director of TRU.

Read the entire article here.

Michigan Suburbs Alliance to host annual Regional Redevelopment Summit Mar. 23

Michigan Suburbs Alliance will host its annual Regional Redevelopment Summit on March 23 at the Fairlane Club in Dearborn. The keynote speaker will be Paul Schutt, Issue Media Group's publisher and co-founder.


In southeast Michigan’s current real estate market, many cities are struggling to get the word out about their viable redevelopment opportunities.  They need new, innovative strategies for communicating to potential investors.  At the 2007 Regional Redevelopment Summit, cities, developers, realtors and communications professionals will come together to explore innovative solutions to this region-wide barrier to redevelopment.

Find out more here.

Urban farming expert in town Mar. 29-31

John Jeavons, a national expert in urban farming and biointensive agriculture, will be in Detroit March 29-31.


From 6-8 p.m. March 29, Jeavons will talk about his experiences with agriculture and how growing crops can be done more efficiently, especially for those in urban spaces. The free talk will be at the Catherine Ferguson Academy, 2750 Selden, Detroit.

From 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 30-31, Jeavons will lead his workshop on how to grow biointensively. Cost for the two-day session is $10-$50 for members of the Garden Resource Program or similar urban gardening organizations, and $150 for others.

For information, call Ashley Atkinson at 313-237-8736 or go to www.detroitagriculture.org.

Read the entire article here.

Fifth Third investing in southeast Michigan, to open 2 banks in Detroit

Fifth Third Bank plans to open 40 banks in southeast Michigan over the next three years, with two in Detroit set to open in the coming months.


“Obviously, an initiative like this has been in the works for some time,” said bank spokesman Jack Riley. “But it is nice to give the region some good news.”

Fifth Third also hopes to become the official bank for the City of Detroit, following the announcement of the investment in southeast Michigan.
Read the entire article here.

Go to Hamtramck and get your paczki on today

Hamtramck will be ready for the hungry hordes that line its streets for delicious Paczki on Fat Tuesday.


On Tuesday, people will party and celebrate the day before Lent begins. In Hamtramck, that day is also time to gorge on paczki.

Lent begins Wednesday, a day when many Christians give up sweets or other things for the 40 days leading up to Easter. In Metro Detroit, paczki are a tradition, especially ones from Hamtramck.

(Full story.)

Detroit's music major draw for tourists

Compared to Nashville, Detroit's venerable music hot spots may be spread out. But the Tourism and Economic Development Council's new campaign wants to make it easier for tourists to navigate the local music scene.


The Convention and Visitors Bureau has divided the region into five districts and is creating maps and Web pages dedicated to highlighting the music venues, restaurants, bars and shopping areas that exist within each. They'll be creating pod casts and short digital films highlighting Detroit's hidden gems with the express purpose of generating a buzz among young people.

"We've been marketing to baby boomers for two generations, and it's not working," [TEDC executive director Jim] Townsend says of the branding campaign's focus on 18- to 35-year-olds. "Why not go after the younger groups and get them hooked so they'll come back again and again?"

Read the entire article here.

DMCVB's D-Rod will showcase Detroit as tourist 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.


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.

Townhouses, senior apartments planned for Hamtramck

Developer Gil Opaleski of Platinum Construction Co., LLC, will begin construction next month on a 7-unit $1.3 million townhouse development on Mitchell Street in Hamtramck. He is also in talks with MSHDA to develop 104 senior housing units on the site of the former Woody Pontiac dealer on Jos. Campau.


The three-bedroom, three-bath [townhouse] units with attached garages will sell for $175,000 to $215,000, Opaleski said. Final site-plan approval is due Feb. 14.

He said the one- and two-bedroom [senior] units would be rentals. The complex would include 75 parking spots and a cafeteria.

Read the entire article here.

United Way CEO urges regional solutions to area 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.


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.

Windsor, Detroit leaders need to work together on economic issues

Columnist Jeff Sanford looks at Windsor's connectivity to the Detroit economy, which isn't always a good thing. But he sees bright spots, including the relationship between the mayors of Detroit and Windsor.


Also in the positive column is the city's young and dynamic mayor, Eddie Francis, a Lebanese immigrant who was just 29 when he was elected three years ago. The pride of the region's extensive Arab community, he comes with impressive credentials. With a law degree from the University of Windsor and a science degree from the University of Western Ontario, he speaks fluent English and Arabic, and was awarded the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award by the Windsor Chamber of Commerce for his work with Royal Pita, the small family company he and his brother expanded into an export business that now operates in 12 states.

It is no wonder rumours began floating around last election that Paul Martin was trying to recruit Eddie to run for the Liberals. He's a go-getter, he knows business and he's developed a strong relation with America's first "hip-hop" mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick of Detroit. The two worked side-by-side on the Detroit Super Bowl committee, which brought the premier U.S. sporting event to the region.

Read the entire column here.

Ann Arbor News encourages regional cooperation

The Ann Arbor News urges its readers to support Detroit Renaissance's "Road to Renaissance" by thinking regionally and supporting Detroit's existing amenities.


That means, among other things, actively finding ways to connect with the state's largest metropolitan area. One place to start is adding the city to your list of leisure-time options, checking out its museums, sporting events, entertainment venues and festivals throughout the year.

To read the entire editorial, click here.

MLUI urges local leaders to realize transit boosts development

A group from Grand Rapids is headed to Portland to learn about how transit has electrified the local economy. Transit advocates hope the civic leaders on the trip come away with a real sense of what a necessary ingredient transit is to the redevelopment mix.

Excerpt from article:

Now, as a delegation of civic leaders from Grand Rapids, Mich. heads [to Portland] to study how Portland’s trolleys sealed this town’s stunning comeback, their journey again raises a crucial question: When will the Great Lakes region’s many fading cities, particularly Michigan’s, see investing in transit as necessary for restoring the region’s once-boundless prosperity?

To read the article, click here.

Daniel Howes: 'Shed the cynicism; One D could spell different Detroit'

Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes writes about One D, the new partnership between Detroit Renaissance, the Detroit Regional Chamber, New Detroit, the United Way of Southeast Michigan, the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Cultural Alliance of Southeastern Michigan.

Howes writes:

One D may not have an office or a budget, but it could symbolize a long-overdue break with that past of civic timidity. Business and civic leaders are more effective drivers of change than politicians, and there's no better time to move than when resources are tight, the outlook is grim and some of the heavy lifting (think downtown redevelopment post-Super Bowl XL) is already done.

Click here for more.

Free rides offered Nov. 24 to Detroit, Hamtramck, Ferndale and Royal Oak shopping areas

A free shuttle service will take shoppers to business districts in Detroit, Ferndale, Hamtramck and Royal Oak on the day after Thanksgiving.


Motown Downtowns, a transit collaboration between the four cities to spur economic development, is sponsoring the event. The free shuttle will run every 20 minutes or so, largely along the Woodward corridor, and riders will get discount coupons to shops on Woodward in Royal Oak, Ferndale and Detroit.

"The beauty of this pilot project is that it gives people a way to see all the great stuff that's in these cities and really highlight the best that each community has to offer," said Geneva Williams, president and CEO of City Connect Detroit, a nonprofit that works to secure funding for regional partnerships.

Click here for the full story.

Detroit lands $3 million in federal money to study transit in city

The Detroit Department of Transportation has landed $3 million in federal funds to study mass transit throughout the city of Detroit. DDOT plans to study light rail, street cars, an expanded People Mover and bus rapid transit.

Excerpt from article:

Dan Meyers, project leader for URS Corp., the San Francisco firm adminstering the study, says:

Within the next month,...URS will identify as many as 10 heavily traveled corridors -- such as Woodward, Jefferson and Grand River -- and eventually pare those to determine where the first route should go. The consultants are studying routes through Detroit as well as Dearborn, Highland Park and Hamtramck.

Click here for more.

Object Orange featured in Good Magazine

Object Orange, an anonymous group of Detroit artists that paint abandoned houses bright orange, is featured in the inaugural issue of Good Magazine.

Excerpt from article:

Four of OO's first 11 orange houses were almost immediately demolished. [City of Detroit spokesman James] Canning attributes this to coincidence and careful calculation (demolition plans are public record); the artists see it as a critical step toward re-invigorating their deteriorating city. "Our part is starting conversations," says OO member Jacques. "Some people do outreach. We paint houses orange."

Click here for more.

US Population growth bodes well for older cities

Planners around the country believe that the unprecedented population growth the United States is undergoing can mean good things for older cities like Detroit.

Excerpt from article:

Detroit, Washington and St. Louis supported hundreds of thousands more residents in 1950 than they do today. Dozens of cities across the country are well past their heyday but still have all their streets, roads, power lines and water supplies in place. If only people would return.

Click for full story.

Hamtramck rock flick featured on TurnHere

Film-maker Matthew Nothelfer's short film about Hamtramck's music scene is featured on TurnHere, a website that showcases films that convey a sense of place.

Excerpt from website:

This blue-collar enclave in the middle of Detroit has evolved into Mo-Town's rock 'n roll epicenter.

Kate Moss in the Motor City: W Magazine photo shoot hits stands

The September 2006 issue of W magazine has hit newstands. It features the photo spread supermodel Kate Moss and fashion photog Bruce Weber shot around the Motor City recently.

Here's an excerpt:
"Detroit is coming back to life. Reborn as one of the most vibrant cities in the world. So Bruce Weber and Kate Moss went off to sample a little motown magic. They got a lot."

To see the pix, check out the magazine.

Movie filmed in Detroit shows artistic side of the city

"The Passenger," set and filmed in Detroit, tells the tale of an office worker who finds himself venturing into the city's underground art scene. 

Excerpts from the article:

"There is some real poetry in the story when it talks about Detroit being this blank canvas for an endless amount of possibilities,'' actress Mare Costello said.

 The Passenger'' recently won the Audience Award at the 2006 Planet Ant Film Festival in the Detroit suburb of Hamtramck.

Click here for more.

City leading area housing market

According to the story:

The city of Detroit remains a high point in the region's struggling housing market, leading the way in home sales and new construction.

 "A lot of people see Detroit as bottomed-out or as poised for growth, so a lot of people are using that as an opportunity," said Darralyn Bowers, president of Detroit Association of Realtors.

Click here for more.

Detroit's neighborhood gas stations to be fuel-alternative pioneers

According to the story:

General Motors Corp.'s drive to put ethanol-based fuel in the tanks of more U.S. cars and trucks may transform Detroit's neighborhood gas stations and its drivers into pioneers in the use of the gasoline alternative.

GM Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner says he'll join employees next month in using fuel that is 85 percent ethanol when the company begins requiring hundreds of its Detroit-area executives with ethanol-compatible company cars to fill up at new public pumps.

Wayne County, which surrounds Detroit, is trying to attract an ethanol refinery.

Click here for more

Groups offer deals on trees, shrubs to encourage planting

According to the story:

Bareroot tree seedlings and small bareroot trees and shrubs are available through county conservation districts and nonprofits like Global ReLeaf and the Greening of Detroit.

The groups offer bareroot plants at low prices to raise money for tree-planting efforts and to encourage people to plant trees, shrubs and other plants every spring. Plants will be available for pick-up next month, in time to get them into the ground before the weather gets too warm and the trees start to leaf out.

Click here for more.

Hamtramck to build 200 homes in Grand Haven-Dyar

According to the story:

The development is aimed to make good on a federal judge’s ruling and welcome back displaced African-American families who filed a class-action lawsuit saying they were pushed out 37 years ago.

The city's housing fund has about $3.6 million earmarked to provide the subsidized housing for plaintiffs, said Albert Bogdan, a private consultant working with the city and plaintiffs in the decades-old lawsuit. More than $2.6 million from Wayne County and the federal government also will support the court order, he said.

The Grand Haven-Dyar homes are priced from $115,000 to $143,000.

About 60 of the homes are expected to be built in the next two years, with groundbreaking Dec. 5. Others will be built as needed, depending on how many families want to move back.

City Manager Donald Crawford said the housing development is Hamtramck's largest in more than 35 years. Hamtramck has more than 400 developable lots -- including parcels in Grand Haven-Dyar -- that haven't generated tax revenue for decades. Officials hope the development will spur others.

To read more click here

CREW-Detroit's Back-to-School party gives supplies to 180 girls

Detroit chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW-Detroit) and corporate sponsor Standard Federal Bank N.A. will throw a pizza party today to one hundred eighty school girls from Detroit's Alternatives for Girls (AFG), who will receive $9,000 in school supplies.

"The 180 girls will each leave with a backpack of new supplies including calculators, pens, pencils, markers, dictionaries, folders, notebooks and paper. They range in age from elementary to high school," says the article.

- Read the full press release at PR Newswire

Families flock to State Fair for 100th year in Detroit

Festivities will continue everyday on Woodward and eight mile to entertain families and kids. Talented pigs, demolition derby, petting and banjo concerts and rides will attract over 500,000 attendees.

- Read the entire story at The Detroit News

Detroit found to be most liberal U.S. city

California based organization ranked Detroit as most liberal city amongst 237 US Cities. The Bay Area Center for Voting Research conducted the survey in cities of population more than 100,000 and used voting patterns to identify various criteria.


Some Detroit neighborhoods to see substantial property tax reduction

A state House Committee unanimously approved reduction in property taxes from 67 mills to 52 mills, leading to substantial savings for residents. 

Property owners in a $200,000 home will save as  much as $3000 a year.

- Read the full story at the Detroit Free Press


Detroit Metro Airport posts best-ever first half

Domestic air travel was up 7.3%, while international air travel was up 8.6% compared to 2004. 

Additionally, four new air carriers have announced scheduled air service at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport since last August: Independence Air in August 2004, Frontier in May 2005, Air France in June 2005 and AirTran this coming November.

- To read more about how Detroit continues to outperform itself and everyones expectations, click here

Foundation to keep commitment to Detroit

Knight Foundation reaffirmed its commitment to Detroit, despite exit of Knight Ridder Inc’s publication business in the city. Including Detroit, the foundation has focused on twenty six markets in the nation where the Knight Ridder publications has a foothold. Last month, the foundation invested $550,000 in the city with grants for six local organizations.


AirTran to Launch Atlanta-to-Detroit Service

AirTran's Web site says that a one-way coach class fare between Detroit's Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and Orlando International Airport would be $84, and between Detroit Metro and Atlanta would be

The airline is to fly Boeing 717 aircraft with 12 business and 105 coach seats, and will start flying from Detroit Metro to Florida's Sarasota Bradenton International Airport on Feb. 15.

- Read the complete story at WSBTV.com

Fashion Week shows off Detroit's glam best

From Aug. 11-13, "fashion fans will see three different runway shows - one each for student and independent designers and the Glam Slam collection culled from local retailers," reports Sharon Gittleman.

On Aug. 11, eight students from Wayne State, Western Michigan and Michigan State Universities will show off their designs, while nine style mavens will display their best sportswear, jewelry, couture and ready to wear creations.

- To read the full story about how music, art and high style will come together at the 4731 Gallery in Detroit, starting Aug, 8, click here.

Detroit Tops List of America's 'Most Independent Cities' for Home Sellers

It comes as no surprise that Detroit leads the charts for the "independent" city in the U.S.

More than 40,000 homes were listed with ForSaleByOwner.com in 2004,
and the company reported that 4 percent of the total listings came
from Detroit alone.

- Read the full press release at PRNewswire

Thompson, Skillman foundations to team up on charter high schools in Detroit

The article reports that "in 2003, Robert Thompson offered to donate $200 million to build 15 Detroit charter high schools and promised that his schools would graduate 90 percent of their students and send 90 percent of those on to college.  He withdrew the offer in the fall of that year, amid opposition from the public schools, unions and others."

Now the offer is back on the table... Click here to read more.

Teens use summer to help Detroit

"It's a different way to spend your summer. You help others instead of helping yourself," the artices quotes a 16-year-old from Birmingham, Casey Starnes, who last week spent his mornings tutoring kids at Glazer Elementary and then painting the cafeteria.

Summer in the City, founded in 2002, picks up Detroit area youth and carpools them to work sites across Detroit, where the teens complete projects.

When Summer in the City was created, "about 14 volunteers showed up at two carpool sites. Now there are five carpool sites in Wayne and Oakland counties, and about 40 people participate daily in the nine-week program" reports the article. 

- Read the full story about how these kids are making a difference:  The Detroit News

Ann Arbor-Detroit transit plan gets boost $100 million federal grant

It is expected, the article quotes Paul E. Tait, SEMCOG's executive director, as saying, that "the consultants will present a study on different mass transit modes, ranging from commuter train to express buses, for public discussion in September. SEMCOG next year then could choose a preferred method of rapid transit".

- Read the entire story here:  mlive.com

It is exciting to see that steps are being taken towards making this dream a reality.  It would be interesting to see what this study will recommend as the best mode of public transportation between Ann Arbor and Detroit, and hopefully, the implementation of that recommendation will happen right away as well.

Redevelopment effort in neighborhoods paying off

Crain's Detroit quotes Alan Levy, director of the mayor’s office of Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization, as saying that in fact, Detroit’s neighborhood redevelopment plans are being broadened and deepened.

The article also mentions that through Re$tore Detroit, the revitalization office’s flagship program, community organizations get technical assistance, training and funding to serve, so far, five districts.

To read the full story, click here 

DTE Energy Foundation Grant to Help Build Gateway to Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge

"The DTE Energy Foundation grant will be used to commission detailed architectural and engineering design work for the visitor center and offices. It will be a "green" facility, employing construction and building practices that are efficient, functional and environmentally sound.

The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is located along the lower Detroit River and western shoreline of Lake Erie. Established in 2001, it was the first International Wildlife Refuge in North America. Islands, coastal wetlands, marshes, shoals and waterfront lands all can be found within its boundaries. U.S. Rep. John Dingell [D-Dearborn] was instrumental in creating the Refuge."

- To read the detailed story along with links to the map, click here

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