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After layoff, a gardener digs a new business

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


"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.


"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.


"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.


"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.


"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.


"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.


"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.


"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.


"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.


"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.


"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.

Business Insider digs Plex Systems' pinball arcade

Beer cart Fridays and take your dog to work day are now common perks at start-ups, but how many can boast a pinball arcade?


"Startup Plex Systems has a pinball arcade complete with its own pinball wizard, Michael McDonald. How cool is that?...

Michigan-based Plex recently lured Jason Blessing to be its new CEO. Blessing is a former PeopleSoft and Taleo exec who escaped the clutches of Oracle, twice, when each of his employers was acquired.

Blessing jumped at the CEO job back in his home state. But he says his favorite thing about his new company is the pinball arcade."

More here.

Economists call for job gains, much lower unemployment in Detroit region

Area economists are backing a much rosier economic outlook for southeast Michigan.


"The seven-county region of Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair and Shiawassee will gain more than 76,000 jobs this year through 2015, say University of Michigan economists....

Fulton and Grimes say that the job growth is accompanied by slowly declining unemployment and relatively tame price inflation. The unemployment rate in the region, which has improved each year since 2009, will continue to drop from last year's 9.4 percent clip to 9.1 percent this year, 8.3 percent next year and 7.3 percent in 2015. Inflation will hover around 2 percent or less throughout the forecast horizon."

More here.

Six Metro Detroiters make Forbes' list of billionaires

A lucky dozen entrepreneurs from Michigan made Forbes' 2013 billionaire roster, with half of them hailing from metro Detroit.


"And according to Forbes, Franklin businessman Dan Gilbert added more than $1.5 billion to his net worth. Gilbert, who controls about 40 companies led by Detroit-based Quicken Loans Inc., is worth $3.5 billion, ranking 384th....

Mike and Marian Ilitch — the Bingham Farms couple who opened pizza chain Little Caesars — saw their net worth unchanged at $2.7 billion, along with family. They rank 527th on the list. They jointly own the Detroit Red Wings, while he owns the Detroit Tigers and she owns the MotorCity Casino Hotel.

Manoj Bhargava, the founder of the 5-hour Energy drink who lives in Farmington Hills, is worth $1.5 billion and is 974 on the list."

More here.

The Palace of Auburn Hills is on the ball with vegetarian-friendly food

Many sports fans are eschewing typical burgers and brats and going for the tempeh. The Palace of Auburn Hills is delivering on this craving.


"First came Major League Baseball in 2002, followed by the NFL in 2008. Now, for the first time, thanks to the explosion in vegetarian options at sports venues across the continent, PETA has ranked the top 10 most vegetarian-friendly NBA arenas, and The Palace of Auburn Hills, home of the Detroit Pistons, has grabbed 10th place...To see all the delicious vegetarian offerings, please visit PETA's blog."

More here.
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