Sunday, November 27, 2005

GM World Headquarters honored for mixing industry, conservation

Since its dedication last December, GM's Riverfront Promenade has served as a place for Detroiters to relax, unwind and enjoy the Motor City's waterfront landscape.

The three-acre spot located behind the
Renaissance Center, the cylinder-shaped building that houses GM's world headquarters, does more than just offer spectacular views and a relaxing escape, though. The area, composed of a promenade - a half-mile walkway donated to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy by GM - and an accompanying plaza, also serve as home to several varieties of native species.

Although it's difficult to imagine a small wildlife refuge lying just outside the home of the world's largest automaker, it's true - and GM now has the award to prove it.

Last week in Baltimore, the global industry sales leader won the recognition of the
Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) when two areas outside its headquarters - the promenade/plaza in the back and a spot near the Jefferson Avenue-entrance in the front - were designated WHC-certified, an accolade acknowledging the auto giant's superior wildlife-habitat programs, which include site management and employee education on the subject.

In the case of the promenade and plaza area, General Motors took several gated, gravel-laden parking lots that blocked access to the riverfront and replaced them with long grass, 20 species of trees and 30 species of plants - the majority of which are native to the area.

The corporation also replaced the lighting in the area, which was found to have a negative effect on migrating bird populations, and improved a portion of the shoreline by using soft-engineering, a process that promotes fish habitats.

In the front of the building, General Motors got rid of the berm barrier that separated the RenCen from Jefferson Avenue, and planted an oak grove in its place. The once-concrete area is now home to red oak and locust trees, ivy, flower beds and grass - a far cry from the industrial grittiness and lack of nature it possessed before the change.

It just goes to show that with hard work and proper planning, even the most unlikely pairing - in this case, industry and environment - can find harmony together.

General Motors has 780 acres of WHC-certified land in eight locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 2003, the auto giant won the WHC's prestigious "Rookie of the Year" award for its Oshawa, Canada, location. In addition, GM's Saginaw Iron Malleable Plant in Saginaw, Michigan, is a former recipient of the WHC's "Pollinator Protector" award, which it received for working with insects that promote pollination. For more information on GM, please visit

The Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) is a nonprofit group made up of corporations, conservation groups and individuals that are dedicated to the restoration and enhancement of wildlife habitat. For more information on its programs, partnerships and award winners, please visit

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005


If you've walked along Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit lately, you've probably noticed the artwork on display at 1424, the lower level of the Lofts at Woodward Center.

Edgewise art is available for your viewing and purchasing
pleasure at 1424 Woodward Avenue in Detroit

The pieces - a selection of works by Detroit artists Edward Gardiner, Detroit Delux and Dennis Bruce Spencer - represent the first installment of Edgewise, a new art exhibition that was created for two reasons: to increase the presence of art in the downtown area, and to provide select local artists with a space to showcase their work.

A clever idea beneficial to both the city and its creative minds, Edgewise operates much like a virtual art gallery in that there is no actual "gallery space" - only a storefront window.

However, unlike online galleries that don't allow prospective buyers the opportunity to see a piece in person, the art of Edgewise - which is shown in 30-45 day installments - can be viewed 24 hours a day, right through the large viewing windows.

Some pieces on display at the first Edgewise gallery reception in September

The next installation of Edgewise, dubbed Edgewise II, is set for Friday, November 18, and is a photo show by members of the creative group, Living for Sundance.

Select works from Stephen Boyle, Ed Gardiner, Bob Haskins, Jerry Petkash and Kristi Spence will be unveiled at a special artist's reception that night.

So, the next time you're in the neighborhood, make a point to stop by and check out the cool, cutting-edge art that Edgewise has to offer. Who knows? You may just find that perfect over-the-sofa piece you've been looking for all these years.

And, if you're looking for a new loft to go with that piece of art, head upstairs to the
Lofts at Woodward Center and check out some the city's hippest urban dwellings, conveniently located in the heart of downtown Detroit.

For information on specific Edgewise pieces, please see the posted contact information at the Edgewise storefront or e-mail

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

United Way has spectacular items in online auction

From a 16-person luxury suite at Comerica Park to a one-person mile-high glider ride, the United Way of Southeastern Michigan’s (UWSEM) first-ever online auction gives you the opportunity to bid on and win incredible items – some of which are priceless adventures that can’t be bought anywhere else.

Other items up for grabs include a round of golf at
Dearborn’s Tournament Players Club of Michigan with two friends, as well as Tony Brown, Senior Vice President of Ford Motor Company. And, that’s not all – after playing 18 holes on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course, the foursome will be treated to a delicious lunch at the TPC clubhouse.

Golf, baseball or gliding not your thing? Not to worry - there are plenty of other fantastic items to bid on in the Keep the Flame Alive United Way Online Community Auction, which runs through December 4.

Here are a few of my favorites:

- Autographed sports memorabilia from the likes of Barry Sanders, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan;

- A certificate for a hot-air balloon ride for two;

- A behind-the-scenes tour of Detroit’s
Parade Company, the organization responsible for putting on Detroit’s Freedom Festival Fireworks and America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade;

- The opportunity to take five of your comrades to the
Detroit Free Press, where you’ll sit-in with FREEP president, David Hunke, and chief editor, Paul Anger, as they hash-out the headlines for a future issue of the 174-year-old newspaper. This item ends with a bang when the lucky six are treated to a gourmet dinner in the FREEP’s executive suite.

And, that’s not all - in addition to the aforementioned items, the online auction – which was created to ensure that UWSEM reaches its Torch Drive goal for 2005 – has some incredible travel getaways and vacations to be won.

There’s a seven-day, six-night trip to Tokyo, which includes airfare, lodging at the Tokyo Marriott Hotel Kinshicho Tobu, daily continental breakfast for two and all hotel taxes.

Or, consider the three-night, four-day getaway to San Diego, which includes airfare and lodging for two at the Marriott Courtyard San Diego, just minutes from popular attractions like the marvelous San Diego Zoo.

Other travel packages include trips to London, Disney World, Maui, Las Vegas, Pebble Beach, a customized European vacation package and a pick-your-own Marriott Vacation Club villa package, which rewards the winning bidder airfare for two and a four-night stay at one of a handful of Marriott Vacation Club properties located in the 48 contiguous United States. Just one side note on the travel items: they end on November 21 at 11:59 pm, which is earlier than the December 4 end time for all other items.

Whether you bid and win a signed football, a game of golf or the travel package of your dreams, the important thing to remember about UWSEM’s online auction is that it is for a great cause.

Proceeds from the auction enable UWSEM to continue doing good things in our communities, like building free wheelchair ramps for the disabled; helping area youth develop character and skills through its Promise mentoring program; and, providing access to job training and tools that many people in our area need to get back on their feet.

For more information on bidding or to check out the auction items yourself, please click

To learn more about UWSEM and its commitment to the communities of Southeastern Michigan, please visit

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Belle Isle gets 1000 new trees

Last Thursday, dozens of volunteers gathered at Belle Isle's Blue Heron Lagoon with one goal in mind: to plant 1,000 tree seedlings.

The planting - which was coordinated by the Greening of Detroit and the Detroit Recreation Department - is part of the
Super Bowl XL Carbon Neutral Initiative, an environmental program designed to alleviate above-average levels of carbon dioxide produced by the events surrounding Super Bowl XL. The new trees will help absorb the excess CO2.

In addition to the seedlings planted on the 41-acre area of Belle Isle, another 1,500 will be planted over the next week and a half in the neighboring Detroit communities of Southfield, Ecorse and Dearborn.

Along with the Detroit Rec Department, the Greening of Detroit and the NFL, the Super Bowl XL Host Committee and the U.S. Forest Service also played key roles in the initiative.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

November in Detroit

The rink at Campus Martius Park opens November 18

Cold weather is quickly sneaking up on Detroit, but don't let its arrival keep you holed-up for the next thirty days - there are far too many interesting things to do this month in Detroit!

From operas and science exhibits to ice skating and parades, the Motor City is bursting with activities to suit people of all ages and tastes.

Here is a small sampling of what's happening in November in the D:

November 1 - 2:

Dia de Muertos, Mexicantown celebrates the Day of the Dead

November 2 - 7:

Detroit Docs International Film Festival at College for Creative Studies, the Detroit Film Center and Detroit Film Theatre

November 4:

Keith Urban performs at the Fox Theatre

November 5 - 13:

La Boheme at the Detroit Opera House

November 5 - May 2006:

Space: A Journey to our Future exhibit arrives at the Detroit Science Center

November 8 - 13:

Cats at The Masonic

The Masonic Temple plays host to Cats and the Great Russian Nutcracker this month

November 8 - 27:

Golda's Balcony at the Fisher Theatre

November 12:

Motown Historical Museum's 20th Anniversary Gala at the Ren Cen

November 18:

Tree-lighting ceremony and opening of the rink at Campus Martius Park

November 19 - 23:

Classical Savion at the Detroit Opera House

November 23:

Hob Nobble Gobble at Cobo Center

November 24:

America's Thanksgiving Parade, downtown Detroit on Woodward

November 26:

Great Russian Nutcracker at The Masonic

And, don't forget about Camille Claudel and Rodin: Fateful Encounter at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). The DIA is the only art museum in the U.S. with this exhibit, which showcases the stunning sculptural works of these former lovers.

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