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Oakland is one of Michigan's healthiest counties

As compared to the rest of the state, even with plenty of good pizza around, it seems Oakland County residents take their morning runs and carrot juice seriously.

Excerpt:

"Oakland County ranks third for health behaviors and sixth for health factors among Michigan’s 83 counties, according to the County Health Rankings Report. The report is produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute...

Oakland County has improved and/or maintained its position in 20 areas such as health factors, health behaviors, adult smoking, adult obesity, residents attending college and violent-crime rate."

More here.

SE MI Sustainable Business Forum kicks off Sustainable Spirits events

The SE MI Sustainable Business Forum is tipping its glass to a new event series mixing happy hour with presentations on sustainability. There will be new get-togethers on the first Thursday of each month.

For more information and to register, click here.

Detroit bids to host ESPN Summer X Games

Detroit may not have mountains, but it's got plenty of turf for extreme sports. It'd be a banner moment for the city and the metro area if Detroit wins its bid for the Summer X Games.

Excerpt:

"Picture this: thousands of thrill-seekers flooding Detroit for a summer festival of alternative sports, music and film. It's not a sure thing yet, but it could be reality in less than two years.

Working with a host of city stakeholders, Detroiter Kevin Krease, 27, and new resident Garret Koehler, 26, are hoping to bring the ESPN Summer X Games to Detroit in July or August of 2014 through 2016. Earlier this year, their pipe dream became an official possibility when the sports network announced Detroit had qualified as a potential location...

The X Games, first organized by broadcaster ESPN in 1995, are global extreme sports competitions -- kind of like alternative Olympics for daredevils held every winter and summer. The Summer X Games include skateboarding, car racing, motocross and BMX events...

If Detroit wins the bid, you won't need to be a BMX fanatic to enjoy the X Games. Krease envisions the event becoming the city's version of the South by Southwest festival in Austin, with music, film, art, beer gardens, events that highlight urban gardening and technology work in the city and more."

More here.

Automaker profit sharing to positively impact the local economy

It looks like auto industry workers, still a major force in Detroit, might take those bonus checks on a spending spree.

Excerpt:

"Mark J. Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan at Flint who is also a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said in an e-mail that “rising stock prices are often shared with workers” through profit-sharing and bonuses.

One example, he said, is the auto industry...

In total, Perry said more than $360  million in profit-sharing checks will be paid out by Detroit’s Big Three automakers. The ripple effects in the region will be big, he said, with the money sure to go to down payments on homes, remodeling projects and other big-ticket items."

More here.

After layoff, a gardener digs a new business

A former office dweller finds a new landscape in her blooming travel gardener business.

Excerpt:

"After three decades behind a desk, Eileen Hugelier now spends her days designing, planting, pruning and tending gardens around her leafy hometown of Farmington Hills, Mich. At 60, she's the owner of Roots & Shoots Gardening, which she founded in 2002...

"A lot of people have about an acre of land, but just don't have time to take care of it themselves," says Ms. Hugelier, who spends most of her time planting annuals, doing garden design and upkeep, and trimming shrubs..."

More here.

March Madness at the Palace is the Battle of the Brass Bands

During NCAA tournament play at the Palace of Auburn Hills last weekend, the bands weren't playing second fiddle to the basketball teams.

Excerpt:

"What you do not always see during the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament on television is this: a bass trombone player who hops around on stilts before the game, a band director who rips off his dress shirt and conducts in a tank top, and a tuba player who shimmies out of his pants at halftime, revealing American-flag boxers and tights...

Before the game is, perhaps, the only time the players listening.

Josh Bartelstein, a team captain for Michigan, said that he had memorized the order of his band’s pregame songs and began warm-ups on the same tune every game. He had his favorites, even if he could not name them.

V.C.U. has a repertory of about 60 songs. Kopacsi is usually open to suggestions from his students, which fits his personality as much as the baseball jerseys. He indicated a band’s wardrobe said something about the band.
Michigan State, for instance, wore simple shirts with Spartans logos and sneakers. In Salt Lake City, the Harvard band’s official uniform included a white shirt, a dark tie and a Crimson jacket with gold buttons and an emblem on the left breast..."

More here.

"Transformers 4" to film in Metro Detroit, create 339 jobs

After passing on Detroit for its third installment, the Transformers film series (and its generous budget) is back.

Excerpt:

"Transformers 4 was awarded an incentive of $20 million on $81,933,992 of projected in-state expenditures.   The project is expected to hire 368 Michigan workers with a full time equivalent of 339 jobs...

Transformers 4 is the third film in the series to use Detroit as a backdrop.   The first Transformers, released in 2007, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon, released in 2011, also filmed in metro Detroit."

More here.

Michigan fares well in job gains against east, west coasts

Michigan has stopped its economic belt tightening, holding its own among the rest of the country in terms of job growth.

Excerpt:

"Jobless woes beset states large and small as well as the East and West coasts in January, but the nation’s midsection continued to thrive...

All told, about 17 states and Washington, D.C., have unemployment rates similar to the national average; 24 states are below than that level and nine states are higher. January was a good month for Michigan, Washington and Massachusetts, which added a seasonally adjusted 26,500 jobs, 24,100 and 16,100 respectively, from December."

More here.

Washington Post notes immigrants affecting Detroit's population for the better

Immigrants are adding to cultural appeal, new businesses, and the all-important headcount of Metro Detroit.

Excerpt:

"New 2012 census estimates released Thursday highlight the population shifts as the U.S. encounters its most sluggish growth levels since the Great Depression.

The findings also reflect the increasing economic importance of foreign-born residents as the U.S. ponders an overhaul of a major 1965 federal immigration law. Without new immigrants, many metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh and St. Louis would have posted flat or negative population growth in the last year.

"Immigrants are innovators, entrepreneurs, they’re making things happen. They create jobs," said Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, at an immigration conference in his state last week. Saying Michigan should be a top destination for legal immigrants to come and boost Detroit and other struggling areas, Snyder made a special appeal: "Please come here."

Read more.

Beavers are back! The Detroit River gets healthy again

When rare wildlife species are returning, you know the Detroit River's current has changed for the better.

Excerpt:

"Jason Cousino, a DTE safety expert at the River Rouge plant and an outdoor enthusiast, said he noticed gnawed branches and other evidence of a beaver along the shoreline over the winter. He set up the trail camera that captured several  images.

Detroit once was a fur-trading outpost, but trapping and industrial pollution contributed to wipe out the beaver in the area along with its habitat. The cleanup of the Detroit River in recent decades has seen many species making a comeback, including lake sturgeon, bald eagles and peregrine falcons."

Read more.

Another pair of films slated for Metro Detroit

Michigan is getting more film footage, with two more films, Landlord and Papou, to be produced in Metro Detroit.

Excerpt:

"Set in Hamtramck, Landlord follows the tale of Elvis Martini, a widowed landlord dealing with spiritual conflict and the abduction of his daughter. The project is being produced by Ele Bardha and directed by Malik Bader with cinematography by Christos Moisides. The script was written by up and coming filmmaker Nickola Shreli (Hostile: Part III, Abduction), who will also star in the film...

Papou is the tale of a wildly imaginative boy and his dying grandfather’s attempts to escape the clutches of death. A film about death, family, and the bond between grandfather and grandson, Papou plans to take the audience on a journey of self-reflection and discovery.

The project is being directed by Michael Angelo Zervos (Realizim).   Zervos also wrote the screenplay and is serving a co-producer alongside Michael Sinanis (Motor City Motors) and Christos Moisides.   The project has tapped Southfield-based Kinetic Post for post-production work."

Read more.

Metro Detroit is tops in country for new corporate buildings and expansions

To go along with the improving residential housing market, corporations are building on their Metro Detroit homes.

Excerpt:

"Michigan ranked 4th in the country for the number of new major corporate facilities and expansions last year, according to Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup...

Michigan had 337 qualified projects last year, up from just 85 in 2011. The figures do not include retail, government, school or hospital projects. New buildings and expansions must meet at least one of these criteria: invest $1 million or more, create at least 50 new jobs or add at least 20,000 square feet of new floor area..."

More here.

Automatic shifters are the new bike chic

Bike warriors are giving Troy-based AutoBike's automatic shifting bikes some new street cred.

Excerpt:

"Our goal was to design the Voyage to get more people riding and enjoying bicycles. The Voyage's upright riding position and automatic shifting system allows the rider to simply enjoy the cycling experience," said AutoBike co-founder Sean Simpson.

More here.

Home prices up nearly 38% in Metro Detroit

Fewer homes on the market and higher demand are seeding sales above the asking price and bidding wars in Ann Arbor. And the four-county Metro Detroit market may not be far behind.

Excerpt:

"Home sales in the region encompassing Wayne, Oakland, Livingston and Macomb counties fell 7.1 percent last month from February 2012, but median sales prices rose 37.9 percent, according to Farmington Hills-based Realcomp II Ltd...

The median sale price rose from $58,000 in February 2012 to $80,000 last month.

Realcomp CEO Karen Kage said declines in the number of available homes spurred both the decline in sales and the increase in median sales prices."

More here.

Sixto Rodriguez, of "Searching for Sugarman" fame, to play in Detroit

Tickets please! Sixto Rodriguez, whose story is told in the 2013 Oscar-winner for Best Documentary, Searching for Sugarman, is playing Detroit's Masonic Temple on Saturday, May 18.

Excerpt:

"Rodriguez has experienced an explosion of interest. A sold out show at Pontiac's Crofoot Ballroom in November, an   appearance at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival, and several high profile TV appearances, including 60 Minutes, Late Show with David Letterman, a CNN feature story, and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, have reinforced Rodriguez' status as cult icon."

Get tickets here.

See a Billboard magazine article here.

And the film trailer here.
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