| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Vimeo RSS Feed

detroit : Buzz

666 detroit Articles | Page: | Show All

City of Detroit to offer municipal IDs by end of 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 

Detroit Tigers experience explosive financial growth

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knight Arts Challenge Detroit accepting submissions now through May 2

For the fourth straight year, the Knight Foundation will be awarding up to $3 million in grants to Detroit artists. The submission period begins today, April 4, and runs through May 2.

The Knight Arts Challenge has a broad concept, and is "open to anyone with an idea for engaging and enriching Detroit through the arts." The application is also simple. All you need to do is distill your project idea into 150 words and follow these three guidelines: 1) The idea must be about the arts. 2) The project must take place in or benefit Detroit. 3) The grant recipients must find funds to match Knight’s commitment.

Two of the 170 prior winners include Hardcore Detroit, which explored the ‘70s Detroit dance craze in a documentary, and Detroit Fiber Works, a gallery and learning space that claims to be the only fiber arts studio in Detroit. 

“Almost everywhere you go in Detroit, you see Knight Arts Challenge winners inspiring and engaging our city,” said Katy Locker, Detroit program director for Knight Foundation, in a press release. “What’s next? We can’t wait to see what Detroit comes up with.”

The Knight Foundation will host two free community events on April 11 at the MOCAD and April 15 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The events are meant to support potential applicants, with past challenge winners and Knight Foundation arts program director Bahia Ramos in attendance. 

To submit your application to the challenge, click here

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

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

Detroit's SXSW? Corktown Strut festival has bold ambitions


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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Detroit Free Press

Electronic music legends Kraftwerk to headline 2016 Movement festival

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


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

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

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

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

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

Tickets are available here.

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

Motor City Muckraker shifts focus to education in 2016


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

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

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

Follow Neavling's work at MotorCityMuckraker.com.

Fort Street drawbridge over Rouge River reopens


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

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

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

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

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



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

Read more: Detroit News
 

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

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

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

Read more: Detroit Free Press

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


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

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

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

The insidious setback to recovery in Detroit's neighborhoods

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

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

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

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

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

Ron Scott, Detroit peace activist, dead at 68

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