Friday, October 29, 2004

Downtown Detroit a Backdrop for New Movie

Director Michael Bay, that helped create the blockbuster movies "Pearl Harbor" and "Armageddon", has chosen Detroit to be part of the backdrop of his recent project, "The Island". The movie, which stars "Big Fish" and "Moulin Rouge" leading-man Ewan McGregor, as well as Steve Buscemi and Scarlett Johanssen, is a sci-fi thriller set in Los Angeles. According to The Detroit Free Press, areas of West Fort and Shelby are currently being constructed to resemble Los Angeles in 2044, the year the movie is set in. Along with this location, the movie will also be filming in five others, including the Michigan Central Depot, Johnny Rockets, the intersection of Michigan Ave and Washington Boulevard, and the intersection of Griswold and Larned streets. Much of the cast as well as dozens of crewmembers are set to start filming on Monday, November 1 and will be finished on November 8.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Check E-Build Detroit's Website to Avoid Downtown Construction

The Mayor's office, in partnership with WWJ Newsradio 950 in Detroit, have created a very resourceful website in an effort to keep Detroiters informed of construction projects happening in the downtown area. The website, called Build Detroit, discusses the city's current construction zones, which are in the following five areas:

-Grand River, between Woodward Avenue and Library, and Grand River between Woodward Avenue and Griswold

-Michigan Avenue, between Griswold and Washington Boulevard

-Broadway, southbound between Witherell and Gratiot Avenue

-Congress and Shelby

-Woodward Avenue, in varying spots

The site contains detailed information on the above closings, as well as specific dates the areas are set to close and re-open. In addition, pictures of the construction sites are also available.

So, the next time you plan to head downtown, take a moment to check out this informative site. You'll be able to navigate around the traffic and laugh at the people that are stuck in it : )

Monday, October 25, 2004

Sean "P. Diddy" Combs to Rally In Detroit

As part of his "Vote or Die" initiative, which focuses on getting people in the 18-35 age bracket to cast their votes in the upcoming November 2 election, Sean Combs is scheduled to appear at Wayne State University tomorrow along with singer Mary J. Blige.
Comb's non-profit, non-partisan organization - Citizen's Change - also aims to direct more attention to this young, but vitally important, section of voters. Encompassing more than 40 million people, an October 23 article in the Detroit Free Press states that Combs is frustrated that neither presidential candidate has discussed anything of relevance to this age faction.

Tomorrow, Combs will make stops in Detroit and Milwaukee, followed by rallies in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Miami on Wednesday and Thursday.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Grassroots Program Volunteer Impact Makes it Easy to Volunteer

Ever wanted to volunteer in the metro Detroit area but decided not to because your previous volunteer experiences have been chaotic and frustrating? Fret no more - a local non-profit organization called Volunteer Impact was designed to create a painless and fulfilling volunteer experience for people like you.

Established in 1990 to streamline volunteering opportunities within Southeastern Michigan, Volunteer Impact publicizes a wide variety of volunteering opportunities on a monthly basis, giving prospective volunteers the opportunity to participate in as many, or as few, activities as they wish. In addition, signing up to be a volunteer is an easy and organized process: just visit their website and create an account, or call their office at 248.559.4950 to learn more about specific opportunities. Some of the agencies they work with are: Greeting of Detroit, Habitat for Humanity, Motorcity Blight Busters, Northwest Detroit Neighborhood Development, Salvation Army, and the Southeast Tutoring Program. Visit here for a more complete listing of partner agencies.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Presidential Candidates to Visit Detroit Area Next Week

With Michigan poised as one of the handful of swing states, President Bush and presidential- hopeful, John Kerry, will both be making last-minute stops in the Motor City next week.

John Kerry plans to rally at Macomb Community College on Monday, October 25, although it still remains unclear as to which campus of Macomb he will be at.

On the heels of Kerry, George W. Bush will make a stop in Oakland County on Wednesday, October 27, to a still-undisclosed location. Bush will then head to Saginaw to rally voters in that area.

In related news, the wife of vice presidential candidate John Edwards, as well as Debbie Stabenow - Michigan's female Democratic senator - will reportedly make a stop in the Lansing area this weekend.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Detroit Council Woman Indicted on 28 Counts

A few weeks after the controversy surrounding the City Council's supporting vote of establishing an "African Town" in Detroit, the Council is back in the spotlight again, but this time the bright light is focused on one individual: Councilwoman Kay Everett.

Everett, who was indicted on 28 charges that include fraud, bribery, and extortion, is accused of taking and commanding more than $150,000 from Frank Vallecorsa - owner of American International, Inc. and a main contractor with Detroit - in exchange for votes by Everett. In an article today in The Detroit News, it is reported that Everett contends that the payments from Vallecorsa, whose company has received $70 million in city contracts since 1990, were loans and that she had every intention of paying the money back. FBI wire taps, which secretely caught Everett talking about the Vallecorsa contracts, are said to disprove this defense. In addition, the FBI contends that if Everett did plan on paying the money back, she should have reported it as additional income on her tax returns, which she allegedly did not.

Vallecorsa has not been charged with any wrongdoing and is cooperating with authorities. Everett proclaims her innocence and will remain on the Council during the upcoming trial. If convicted, Everett could face 20 years in prison.

The full Detroit News article referenced above can be viewed at:

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Metroblogging, a fresh new website that gives a "hyperactive look" at large cities worldwide, is looking for bloggers from the Detroit metro area. The ideal candidate enjoys life in "The D", and doesn't mind posting comments about his or her daily adventures while living/working/partying in Southeastern Michigan. Potential bloggers should be able to post once or several times per day. Interested? Check out and click on a city or two to see what it's all about. When you go to the site and you can't find Detroit, don't think that you are crazy or weird - Detroit is not listed yet and no Detroit bloggers can post yet (this includes me!) because each city needs 10 authors to go "live" on the site. So, what are you waiting for, Detroit? Come on out of your shells and let's show the world that Detroit is a great place to live, work, and be :)

Monday, October 11, 2004

African Town: Will it Work?

Seven members of Detroit's city council and an author named Claud Andersen have stirred up quite a commotion in the city during the last 24 hours. The uproar was not another verbal fight amongst council members but, instead, centers around a plan that many people fear could undermine Detroit's aggressive revitalization efforts of the past few years.

The council's plan, which has been termed "African Town" by various sources, revolves around the creation of a special business district that would consist solely of black business owners and would largely cater to the needs and wants of black citizens. The idea, conceived by Detroit native and author Claud Andersen, would be designed to assist and empower black business owners, a group Andersen says receives little support from the city. By having their own business district, Andersen believes that black business owners would thrive - they would be supported by black citizens, who would buy their goods and services from them. The author drew similarities to Detroit's Mexican town and Greektown areas, and explained that an Africantown could have the same results.

Although the idea of assisting black business owners in succeeding is a good one, Andersen's plan will not work. Largely, this is due to the premise that Andersen and the City Council members in favor of the idea are relying on taxpayers' dollars to partially fund the project. As this would promote one race over others, this would be considered racial discrimination. For the city council members not aware of this, racial discrimination has been an illegal practice in Michigan, as well as the other 49 states in the U.S., since the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964.

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick vetoed the Council's proposal for an African Town back in July of this year, but the Council overrode his veto during the last week of September. According to a press release from the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, African Town will never come to fruition because the plan is racially discriminatory.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Detroit's Crackdown on Abandoned Structures

If the city of Detroit has its way, the weekly feature A.S.S., which appears in the Metro Times, won't be around in the future. That's because the city has just released a gigantic plan to rid or overhaul 220 abandoned structures in Detroit before the arrival of Super Bowl 2005. For those of you that are avid readers of the Metro Times, metro Detroit's weekly-published newspaper, you are well-aware of the cringing feeling that engulfs your insides each week when you see A.S.S.'s photo. For those of you not familiar with Metro Times or A.S.S., what rock have you been hiding under? Just kidding. A.S.S. stands for Abandoned Structure Squad, and is a group of writers/photographers from MetroTimes that snaps shots of forgotten, decrepit residential and commercial areas in Detroit and investigates their owners. This is just an observation, but it seems that most of the owners of the featured deathbombs do not respond to A.S.S. (although I'd be interested in finding out what the actual response statistic is). Perhaps, though, the city of Detroit will have better luck in gaining their attention...fines usually motivate people more than bad press.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

It's a Beautiful Day in Detroit

Downtown Detroit Posted by Hello

Couldn't help but post this beautiful picture of the Downtown Detroit area. For those of you with ill-conceived notions about Detroit, you should spend some time down there to see what it's really like. Whatever your "bag" is - gambling, theater, rock concerts, art, fine dining, original coney dogs, dancing, or sports - you will find it downtown on almost every day of the week. Unfortunately, this is something the suburbs simply cannot say.

Vote, Michigan!

This time, you have no excuses...

Around southeast Michigan during the last month or two, I have been amazed at the number of times I have seen a local store or restaurant advertising the upcoming November election. Perhaps I never noticed it before, but when I walked into a local 7-11 a few weeks ago and saw a large display right near the checkout counter advertising the national event, I felt compelled to mention it to the cashier.

I am very impressed and grateful that international companies like 7-11 not only recognize the importance of voting, but that they advocate part of their own profits into making sure that customers are aware of the election and are educated on the many facets of the voting process, including registration, ballots, party platforms and everything in between.

For those of you out there that have ignored these calls to vote or have put them off, you are in luck: you still have until the end of business on October 4 to register to vote. The Secretary of State, along with other businesses and agencies, have done everything possible to make registering to vote an easy and painless process. All you need to do is take 15 minutes out of your day tomorrow, go to a Secretary of State branch, and tell the nice people there that you would like to register to vote. And, in a few minutes, you will be given notice that you are a registered voter, able to cast your ballot any way you choose come November 2.

With all of the publicity and efforts that have been put into getting U.S. citizens to vote this election day, you no longer have any valid excuse for not being registered. I cannot imagine any boss or company owner that would deny you a little extra time on your lunch break tomorrow to get to a SOS branch to register; if you work for someone like that, you need to quit and you know it. It is time that we took responsibility on ourselves for the future of our country. We have all seen many times what can happen in a four-year time period, so whether you are happy with the last four years or disgusted with it, the only way to make your voice heard is to register to vote.