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Farmington Hills' Grace & Wild makes vid for Etch A Sketch company

Teaming up with Team Detroit, Grace & Wild produced a series of five stop-action promos for The Ohio Art Company.


"Grace & Wild's team worked in collaboration with Team Detroit Pulse to create a series of five stop motion character monologues titled "Small Spiels" and a full CGI spot.  The Small Spiels were shot as "audition reels" to show each product's unique personality and answer the question, "why should you put me on your desk?"   Each "spiel" included a CGI product build, an artful cascade of hundreds of colorful micro-sized blocks raining down to form the completed nanoblock character.  In the full CGI spot, titled "How big are you?," the magnitude of moving nanoblocks was over 100,000. "

Read the rest here.

Is Farmington Hills' Mango Languages the next Rosetta Stone?

Watch your back Rosetta Stone, Mango Languages is poised to become a market heavy-weight in the language education market. After all, do you offer lessons in how to talk like a pirate?


"Mango’s digital products were first introduced in hundreds of libraries across North America and now are expanding to a wide range of consumer and educational products that include dozens of courses in 49 languages, including 15 English as a second language courses, each with about 10 lessons. The products are being sold to libraries, educational outlets, military branches and departments and, more recently, consumers.  

Mango has gone from developing practical, smart products to now developing a religious scholarly course. At the same time, Mango tries not to take itself too seriously. It offers a course, for example, in “pirate” language, mocking the sea bandits’ way of speaking."

Read the rest here.

Oakland County surfs for new ideas via crowdsourcing site

Lots of politicians pay lip service to listening to their constituents' ideas and even implementing a few here and there. Oakland County is looking to take that a step further with its new online crowdsourcing initiative.


Every city, county and state these days is faced with hard decisions about budget cuts and reorganization — and even harsher feedback from residents after the cuts are made. Oakland County, Mich., has found a way to use technology to spark that citizen-to-government communication during the decision-making process. County officials launched an online public forum so residents can be an integral part of making tough budget decisions.  

The website, http://oakgov.ideascale.com, gives citizens the opportunity to respond to questions, make suggestions and post comments. Citizens can also rank the county's proposals by voting for the ideas they like best on every issue, from technology to parks and recreation.

"Since we are using social media in so many different ways here, we thought … what is the next wave of how we engage our citizens in the process?" said Phil Bertolini, Oakland County's deputy county executive and CIO. "In a focus group, you put 20 people in a room, you ask the idea and you get 20 opinions. If you use crowdsourcing, you put out an idea and you get thousands of opinions. More minds and more ideas make for a better product."

Read the rest of the story here.

Venture capital gains traction in Metro Detroit

Venture capital is starting to gain some momentum in Metro Detroit. A couple of stories, both local and national, are talking about how local VC funds are gaining more and more investors. Could the VC ground hog finally overcome the fear of its shadow and help thaw the financial markets for local start-ups? Some prominent people are starting to think so.


"Leading the cleantech revolution," or "Leveraging the intellectual property of our major research universities" -- such hopeful and visionary statements are just a sampling of various mantras that have echoed the chambers of Midwestern capitals and filled the pages of local newspapers for the past several years. In the face of the recent economic despair that has besieged the regional economy, numerous Midwestern politicians, economic developers and regional venture capitalists have been, somewhat counter-intuitively, touting the notion that Midwest states like Michigan actually present excellent, yet overlooked, venture capital investment opportunities (including yours truly, as I did in "America's Midwest: Cashless Chasm or The Valley of Opportunity?").

Skeptics (which predominantly include frustrated Midwesterners, some business journalists and dismissive coastal venture capitalists) have generally disregarded such optimistic economic proclamations as desperate political hand-waving and hopeful, yet hollow hype to win votes, mollify the economically depressed and justify their own existence. I can understand why one would be doubtful -- it is easy to be negative these days. But today, I write to tell you that the skeptics and defeatists look to be wrong, and we have some early evidence to prove it.

Read the rest of the story here and a Crain's Detroit Business story about how investing in local venture capital firms is trending upward here.

Beringea's Jeff Bocan talks up Michigan and LEDs in HuffPo

LED lights have been a catchphrase around southeast Michigan for years as a way to save local governments boatloads of cash in energy savings. Now they look like a way for Michigan firms to make boatloads of bucks while adding even more jobs.


Before the "Great Recession," the state of Michigan was in its own one-state recession of sorts thanks in part to our well-documented over-dependence upon the struggling auto industry. Yes, the economy is still recovering, and things are still dark, but I can see the light! Yes, dear readers, I have seen the light at the end of Michigan's proverbial economic tunnel, and that light shines bright with LEDs. Can I get an "Amen"?!

Read the rest of the story here.

Xconomy reviews VC activity in Metro Detroit

The new news site in town takes on Metro Detroit's emerging venture capital scene and the streak of investments it has been on lately.


There are three reasons Michigan can feel good about a recent $8 million venture capital investment in Detroit-based medical imaging company Delphinus Medical Technologies.

  • It is an investment in a Michigan company;
  • The investment comes from an all-Michigan VC team;
  • It is an investment in Michigan-grown technology developed in one of the state's premier research institutions—one that deals with real-life cancer cases every day.

Delphinus Medical’s breast-cancer-detection technology, SoftVue, has been undergoing development at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit for the past 10 years. Unlike mammography, it does not use radiation or compression to image the breast to detect early stages of breast cancer.

Read the rest of the story here and more here and here.

Farmington Hills pizzeria hits the pages of GQ

Recently a GQ writer went on a 20,000-mile trek looking for the best pizza within 10 metropolises. He came to Detroit and three of them made it on the list. One of those was Farmington Hills' Weinstein's pizzeria.


Weinstein grew up a short bike ride away from his shop, which back then was called Romano's. He went off to study at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, apprenticed himself to master pizza makers in New Haven, Conn., and came home to convert the masses to thin-crust works of art with crab, mozzarella, crushed garlic and lemon wedges.

At 10:30 one recent morning, he was adding undisclosed spices to a large vat of red sauce. Then he pulled out a tray of dough patties wading in olive oil, rolled them in flour and began hand-tossing them into crusts for the lunch rush.

"The wetter the dough, the harder it is to deal with," he says, "but the better the pizza."

Weinstein has the sort of build and wardrobe you want from your pizza maker: Khaki shorts, white T-shirt, a very large white apron.

He can rhapsodize about coal ("I call it buried sunshine"), perfectly cooked white crusts with brown spots ("The absolute epitome of what pizza is"), the true key to pizza ("It's about the toppings") and wait, the other true key ("It's about the edge").

Read the entire article here.

Move over Teletubbies! Oogieloves movie to be made in Michigan

Teletubbies were lovable and cute... or like nails on a chalk board, depending on how old you were. Yet, it's hard to deny their popularity blitz in marketing and retail. Well, the guy behind that is coming to Michigan because of the tax breaks with another show: the Oogieloves.

The title sounds lovable and cute... or like nails on a chalk board.


Viselman has come from Los Angeles to Farmington Hills to produce a children's film called "The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure." As he describes the mood inside the building that serves as the movie's home base, he oozes enthusiasm.

"Oh my God, it's like maybe we should bring the Oogieloves to the Middle East. Maybe they'll solve the Middle East problems! It's a very unexpected, joyous place here," he says.

Viselman, 48, has been called a marketing genius for his role in the selling of the Teletubbies and Thomas the Tank Engine in America. He didn't invent those characters, but he helped make them must-have toys.

In 1998, the New York Times described him as "the whiz behind the 'Teletubbies' blitz." An Inc. profile from 2003 said "when he picked up the phone, the CEOs of FAO Schwarz and Toys 'R' Us took the call."

Read the entire article here.

Body by Bollywood

Innovation is a state of mind – and body. Area exercise classes are turning fitness groupies into drummers and Hindi movie dancers. Oh Slumdog Millionaire, what have you wrought?


A class called "Bollyfit" in Ann Arbor merges culture and fitness by incorporating Bollywood dance into workouts. Farmington Tennis Club and Birmingham Racquet Clubs offer cardio tennis, a combination that puts less emphasis on technique and more on drills, rallies, and an aerobic workout. And Vixen Fitness in Detroit makes workouts of belly dancing, salsa, pole dances and even lap dances.

Read the full story here.

Coming soon: Film schools near you

Now that Michigan will be the set for nearly 70 Hollywood movies in 2009, new film schools in several Detroit area communities are offering classes to train crew members.

Wanted: Gofers for George Clooney and Hilary Swank.


Six weeks ago, Ferndale resident Julie Goode was making $54,000 a year working as a textiles designer and engineer for supplier Lear Corp. Then, three days before Christmas, she was laid off. Goode, 28, now is preparing to start a new career.

She is one of hundreds of Michigan residents who have enrolled in a film industry training program, at least four of which have sprung up across the state since last April...

“The first thing (film production companies) ask is, "Who do you have for a crew base?'” said Jeff Spilman, co-founder and managing partner of S3 Entertainment Group, which is offering classes in Ferndale in a partnership with Oakland Community College.

Read the stories here and here.

'Tis the season to save energy

The holidays are a time of giving, not usually saving. However, for some cities across SE Michigan they are doing just that, and in a festive way. These cities are turning toward cost-saving, energy-efficient LED lights for their holiday displays.

Now, residents not only can enjoy the Christmas lights but they can do it with a clear conscience.


In Southfield, city workers typically spend a week of "frustration" going through light strings determining which ones work and replacing bulbs, said Bob Murray, parks and operations supervisor. The five-man crew spent only a day decorating this year because of the new LED lights.

The new lights at the civic center are expected to last up to 100,000 hours, which should span at least a 20-year period, he said. Instead of abrupt burnouts, the lights dim gradually over time and use less energy.

"We are looking at a savings of about 98 percent than with normal lights, which will be huge for the city," Murray said. "And we don't have to worry about blowing fuses anymore and spending money every year to replace defective bulbs."

Read the entire article here.

Freep finds the best burgers in town

Whether you like Dearborn's Miller's Bar or Royal Oak's Red Coat Tavern, you favorite burger joint is bound to show up somewhere on the Freep's list of best burgers in town. Not into red meat? Don't worry, check out No. 24. Ferndale's Flytrap has a salmon burger just waiting for consumption.


When we asked readers this fall to point us toward Detroit's best hamburgers, hundreds of you sent recommendations. We read every one, picked the places that sounded best and then hit the streets in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties to taste them. Six weeks and innumerable antacids later, here are our favorites.

Read the entire article here.

Dream homes in dream neighborhoods may now be affordable

Now would be a good time to find your dream home in your dream neighborhood. As prices drop, houses in some of the area's more desirable cities become more affordable - actually, a lot more affordable.


Since the market's peak in 2005, home prices have fallen about 23.2% in metro Detroit, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. Record foreclosures in the past two years have also created a drag on home values as foreclosed properties compete head-to-head with owner listings.

So, for the first time in years, buyers can find many choices in the under-$200,000 price range in communities such as Allen Park, Westland, Dearborn, Ypsilanti, Detroit, Howell, Harrison Township, Fraser, Clinton Township, Warren, Holly, Farmington Hills, Keego Harbor, Waterford, Monroe, Royal Oak and Ferndale, according to data compiled by Realcomp in Farmington Hills.

Read the entire article here.

Local students use Rouge River as classroom

More than 500 students from 10 Southeast Michigan schools will participate in this year's Rouge Education Project and will survey the Rouge River as part of their studies.


"The Rouge Education Project is a hands on learning program for students in K-12 schools to experience real-world science in the field while learning about their local ecosystem and gaining respect for the community in which they live," said Emily Johnson, Rouge Education Project Assistant Program Manager.

Read the entire article here.

Metro Times releases annual 'Best of Detroit'

As they wont to do each year, the Metro Times has released its annual "Best of Detroit" awards.

Check them out here.
73 Farmington Articles | Page: | Show All
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