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Write-a-House to offer Detroit home ownership to struggling writers

Start your pens! In a program garnering national notice, Detroit's creative leaders are banking on the literary arts as another way to shore up the city's economy and arts and culture offerings.

Excerpt:

This is their mission statement...

Our mission is simple: to enliven the literary arts of Detroit by renovating homes and giving them to authors, journalists, poets, aka writers. It's like a writer-in-residence program, only in this case we're actually giving the writer the residence, forever.

More here.

To apply for the program, click here.

Michigan population ticks upward in 2013

In a reversal of a years-long slow burn, the U.S. Census Bureau reports Michigan's population grew for the second-straight year. 

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According to the data, the state's population increased between July 1, 2012 and 2013. Since the state population dropped by 1,560 between 2010 and 2011, Michigan's added 7,930 and 13,103 residents in the last two years.

The overall U.S. population grew by just over 0.5 percent.

More here.

The Winter Stonefly Search is on

Dodge the winter blahs on January 18, when you can wade in a stream (or at least walk near one) for a good environmental cause. Join the annual Winter Stonefly search, beginning at 10am at the Clinton River Watershed Council office in Rochester Hills.

Excerpt:

"The Winter Stonefly nymphs are one of the most sensitive of all aquatic macro invertebrates that live in our rivers and streams.   These insects are most active and easily found in the month of January when the water temperature is very cold and there is still plenty of leafy debris in the river bottom for stoneflies to forage on.   The presence of stonefly larvae in a stream indicates good water quality.  
  
Volunteers will meet at the CRWC office and from there will split into teams and travel to various sampling locations. Volunteers will then meet back at the office for lunch and hot beverages. Our search will help add to our Adopt-A-Stream Data and will provide a chance to learn about the ecology and conditions of our local streams."
  
To register, contact the CRWC office  (248-601-0606  or e-mail registration@crwc.org).  

Detroit Film Theatre celebrates 40-year anniversary with $2 films this weekend

Two-dollar classic films are rolling at the DIA!

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"On the occasion of our 40th anniversary in 2014, we invite you to join us for a weekend of ten memorable films that we’ve shown over the years, beginning on January 10th with a special screening of our very first presentation, Claude Jutra’s haunting and exquisite 1971 Canadian classic,  Mon Oncle Antoine.

More here.

Detroit named to Fodor's Travel "Go List 2014"

Get your out-of-town networks packing! Detroit has broken into the ranks of upscale travel guide Fodor's list of the "top 25 trips we're looking to book right now."

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"Hip, new, culturally and design savvy Detroit is emerging, filled with microbreweries, coffee shops, organic bakeries, guerilla farming, forward-fashion boutiques, and funky cocktail spots. Art is a big draw, as talk continues about whether the world-class Detroit Institute of Arts may have to sell off important works. Check out the many new gallery spaces for more avant-garde work, or the Heidelberg Project, a blocks-long  outdoor  art project where the houses are masterpieces."

More here.

Crowdfunding = More opportunities to invest locally

The Senate's recent passage of crowdfunding legislation opens up a whole new pool of potential funding for entrepreneurs, a vital component to the expansion of Michigan's economy.

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"HB 4996, a creative approach to economic development, will allow the sales of securities to an unlimited number of non-accredited investors, provided the issuer registers with the State of Michigan.   Any Michiganders who do not fit the federal definition of an accredited investor are given the opportunity to support their local entrepreneurs, existing small businesses, and real estate investments."

More here.

Michigan Shifting Gears program taking applications for job seekers looking to retool

The Michigan Shifting Gears program is seeking applicants for its three-month career transition program beginning on January 21. Sessions will take place in Ann Arbor and the Great Lakes Bay region. Registration for the Winter 2014 session is open now through  Friday, January 10. 

Excerpt:

"The program is designed to help experienced professionals, returning veterans, stay-at-home parents and others facing a career crossroads fine-tune their skills to fit the needs of small businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups...

Participants in Michigan Shifting Gears receive a professional career assessment and career coaching, attend eight days of workshops, participate in networking events, and take part in a three-day small business simulation.  Participants are paired with volunteer mentors from the entrepreneurial community who work one-on-one to review their resumes, provide career advice, and help with their career transition....

Michigan Shifting Gears has an impressive rate of success, with 51 percent of graduates landing new jobs within three months of completing the program. Sixty-five percent of graduates land positions within six months, and 84 percent find work within nine or more months...."

For more info and to learn about the prerequisites for registering, click here.

Investors rate Detroit commercial property a "Buy"

Dan Gilbert has been on a well-known Detroit property-buying spree for years now, and of late, other investors are getting in on Detroit's ground floor.

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"Despite a fiscal plight that forced the city to seek Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection five months ago, the real-estate market has been picking up in Detroit's downtown core. Mr. Gilbert has led the charge by buying dozens of properties and moving in 3,800 of his employees from suburban offices and creating another 6,500 jobs downtown since 2010, according to the company.

But lately, other investors have begun buying trophy buildings and starting to develop apartments to meet the rising demand from workers who prefer downtown living. City officials estimate residential occupancy downtown is 97 percent.

The projects show that some real-estate investors are looking beyond the bankruptcy to an eventual rebound in Detroit. They are hoping that property values and rents will rise due to the region's resurgent automotive industry and the expansion of its medical community and nascent technology industry...

In October, Dongdu International, known as DDI, paid a total of $13.6 million for two of Detroit's better-known buildings, including the former home of the Detroit Free Press, now slated for a residential conversion. The Chinese company is now under contract to buy a third, 10-story loft-apartment building for $2.77 million, an attorney representing the company said this week."

More here.

Discovery Channel series to film at Barwis Methods Training Center in Plymouth

A Metro Detroit gym's athletes get to work out in the hot lights when the Discovery Channel crew comes to town this January.

Excerpt:

"Ann Arbor native filmmaking brothers Chris and Mike Farah –  who shot the feature film "Answer This!" in Ann Arbor in 2009  – are now producing (with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's popular comedy website, FunnyOrDie.com) a new, as-yet-unnamed "sports docu-seris" for the Discovery Channel.

Shooting begins outside Detroit in January, at strength coach Mike Barwis' gym (Barwis Methods Training Center)...

Chris Farah can't discuss air dates for the show, or the pro athletes who will appear on the series, but he believes that getting a good lineup won't be too hard, since "Barwis' gym is already pretty much the place pro athletes go to train. … The environment Barwis has created is astonishing."

More here.

GM's Detroit headquarters' landfill-free status sets green example for nation

Nothing in the waste basket goes to waste at GM's Detroit offices anymore.

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"General Motors Co.'s downtown Detroit headquarters complex now recycles, reuses or converts all its daily waste to energy, with efforts at the  Renaissance Center  keeping 5 million pounds of trash annually from landfills..."

More here.

TV pilot "12 Monkeys" to shoot in Metro Detroit, hire 150 local workers

Sci-fi lovers and fans of the 12 Monkeys film featuring Brad Pitt will want to catch this show filming in Metro Detroit. The project will hire 150 locals (34 full-time job equivalents), according to the Michigan Film Office.

Excerpt:

"12 Monkeys  is an adaptation of the 1995 Terry Gilliam feature film.   The pilot follows the journey of a time traveler from the post-apocalyptic future who appears in present day on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will eventually decimate the human race."

More here.

Macomb Comm. College students tool around in renewable energy-powered cargo trikes

Some enterprising students just gave junk a new green lease on life.

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Take 13 college students from diverse backgrounds, ask them to build something purposeful out of junk and voila! — the result is a pair of funky three-wheeled bikes, powered by renewable energy, that transport people and cargo anytime, anyplace.

The band of students at Macomb Community College collaborated for 14 weeks on the "trikes,”"which run on a combination of pedal power and an electric hub motor using a battery charged with solar power.

The students, who are earning certificates in Macomb’s renewable energy technology program, kept the designs environmentally friendly by incorporating the "reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra of the sustainability movement.

More here.

U.S. factories humming with activity

The growth in U.S. manufacturing bodes well for Detroit, which has started retooling former auomotive operations into production facilities for unique goods.

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"U.S. factory activity expanded in November for the sixth straight month, signaling stronger demand at home and abroad that could boost growth prospects into next year....

"Ultimately, it's consumer spending" providing the support for increased factory activity, said Bradley Holcomb, chairman of the ISM's manufacturing-survey panel.

That's good news for Detroit-based watch maker Shinola. Founded in 2011, Shinola took the brand of a defunct American shoe-polish maker and set up shop in a building that formerly housed a General Motors research lab. It has hired more than 170 people since its launch and continues to add workers, Chief Executive Steve Bock said."

More here.

Mt. Brighton ski resort receives $10M facelift

This week Mt. Brighton opened for skiing with a fresh coat of snow – and brand new facilities.

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"Since recently purchasing Mt. Brighton, Vail Resorts has sunk $10 million in improvements into the slopes at 4141 Bauer Road in Genoa Township...

Heffernan visited the skiing facility so her sons, Jake, 13, and Brandon, 10, could go snowboarding. Heffernan, who used to live in Colorado, said Mt. Brighton now has the look and feel of a lodge in Colorado.

Jake Heffernan said the chairlifts are more comfortable, and he’s excited to try the new terrain park when it opens."

More here.




Detroit to be site of Acoustic Guitar Project TV pilot

Motown's unsung guitar heroes will be getting a shout-out on a new TV pilot to be filmed locally.

Excerpt:

"Globe-trotting acoustic guitars have been passing through the hands of songwriters from Helsinki to Haiti, Bogota to the Big Apple. Now, Detroit — home to the Motown Sound, modern techno and the Queen of Soul — has its own ax circulating among unsung musicians.

There's a different guitar in each city, but the premise of The Acoustic Guitar Project is the same: Give the guitar to a songwriter for a week, in which he must compose and record a song, and upload the recording and a photo with the guitar. The instrument then is signed and delivered to another artist...

The fifth town on the project's itinerary is more than a pit stop. It's also the site of another project of Adams', a crowd-funded TV pilot about the guitars. Donors contributed $20,000 and picked Detroit as the destination."

More here.
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