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Rainbow Loom founder introduces travel-size Finger Loom bracelet maker

The founder of the surprise hit Rainbow Loom continues to keep his hands busy with his latest invention.


"Cheong Choon Ng was trying to make rubber-band bracelets with his daughters four years ago when he realized his fingers were too big to manipulate the bands.

So, the automotive crash-test engineer set about creating a tool that would help him do the job — the Rainbow Loom.

Ng is aware the toy business is fickle and that the popularity of the Rainbow Loom could fade, which is why he’s introducing new products, such as the travel-size Finger Loom, which comes out Wednesday."

More here.

Gourmet food-truck bandwagon rolls in Metro Detroit

From gourmet chicken fingers served in a waffle cone to "umami-bomb" BBQ brisket in Ferndale, metro Detroit is catching up to the rest of the nation's cities in terms of gourmet options on wheels.


"We know, we know. Food trucks are so 2012, right? Tell that to the intrepid souls who decided this year to put meals on wheels, hoping against hope that mobile cuisine hasn't yet jumped the Detroit shark. Based on the entries we've encountered, there's no danger in that happening. After all, the trucks might be new, but the chefs behind them are, for the most part, veterans who understand the power of a good business plan and a full stomach.

Conveniently, although the calendar says that it's officially autumn, the climate has remained cooperative for those who like to dine al fresco. Whatever the weather, here are five new food trucks and trailers that you won't want to miss."

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"Homecoming" event spotlights Detroit's economic progress to the nation

Detroit showed itself off to advantage at a recent event attended by the nation's movers and shakers.


"In May, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. said the bank would invest $100 million over the next five years in the city. Other companies, foundations and the state of Michigan pledged more than $800 million over 20 years to help protect the city-owned Detroit Institute of Arts from possible sale...

Residential vacancy in the city's downtown and midtown neighborhoods is low as office space has begun to fill up, driven in large measure by dozens of buildings acquired and renovated by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert. As part of the event Thursday, premium grocer  Whole Foods  said it was searching for a second location in the city after opening its first store last year.

"It's much better after the bankruptcy than before," investor  Warren Buffett  told an invitation-only crowd.

Last year, the chairman and chief executive of Omaha, Neb.-based  Berkshire Hathaway  said Detroit had huge potential for investors, saying he would be open to buying business in the city. On Thursday, he said in a staged conversation with Mr. Gilbert that he once considered buying the Ambassador Bridge that connects Detroit across its namesake river to Canada and wouldn't rule out future investments in the city."

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Thrillist eats up Detroit's hottest new restaurants

A slew of new restaurants in Detroit and its close-in neighbors makes Thrillist's menu of must-eats.


"Royal Oak
By contrast, absolutely nothing about DROUGHT -- or its devotees -- will make you think "hot mess". Because, you know, healthy. The newest DROUGHT cold-pressed raw juice retail location has opened in Royal Oak, to be followed by its fifth spot in Birmingham next month...

Boogie Fever, the quintessential nightclub for all Detroit-area phallus-themed bachelorette parties, has closed. Long live Boogie Fever. In its place, the owners have opened Twisted Tavern, a restaurant in front and party in the back (with Twist Night Club). They're billing it as a from-scratch small plates tavern (think polenta fries and pork belly flatbreads), but some questions remain, including: now where will all the cougars coug? And the dudes who try to prey on sad, single bridesmaids, only to end up cougar food? This is a delicate ecosystem!"

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For manufacturers, being green means more green in the bank

A recent Kettering University study found that manufacturers with green-oriented manufacturing companies with sustainable practices also enjoy sustainability in profits as well.


"A team of researchers led by Kettering University's Dr. Thomas Ngniatedema from the Department of Business have presented empirical evidence  regarding the importance of corporate environmental consciousness and a company’s financial performance.

"This study is an invitation to corporate investment in innovative pollution prevention because we found that companies that score well according to objective environmental criteria realize stronger financial returns than their counterparts." Ngniatedema said...

The manufacturing industry included companies in sectors such as consumer products; vehicles; food and beverage; industrial goods; pharmaceuticals; technology; and utilities, while the service industry consisted of firms in sectors such as banking and insurance; financial industries; healthcare, media, travel and leisure; and retail.

"We found that firms in the manufacturing industry tend to be more green-oriented than those in the service industry," Ngniatedema said."

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"Grain" feature film begins shooting in Detroit

The cameras are zooming in on a very intriguing plot unfolding in Detroit this month.


"Grain will film in the city of Detroit at various emblematic and historic locations. It was awarded an incentive of $238,588 on $727,406 of projected in-state expenditures and is expected to hire 77 Michigan workers with a full time equivalent of eight jobs.

The film is set in an indefinite near future, where the existence of sustainable life is threatened. Together, a genetics expert and a general chaos scientist join forces in the Dead Lands to find fresh seeds, changing everything they thought they knew in the process."

More here.

Macomb Comm. College to manage $2.7M Innovation Fund for entrepreneurs, start-ups

The funding pie is growing larger for Detroit-area entrepreneurs, especially those who agree to take on community-college students as interns.


"Up to $100,000 will be made available to startup and emerging businesses in the Detroit area through the $2.7 million  Innovation Fund, part of  J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.'s  $100 million investment in the region.

According to a release from  Macomb Community College, which will manage the fund, grants of $25,000, which don't have to be repaid, will be awarded to startups "that are taking the initial steps to get their very early stage idea ready for market introduction."

In other cases, up to $100,000 will be made available to "advance the progress of emerging companies toward larger-scale equity funding." Those awards would have to be matched 100 percent by the company...

Companies that receive funding will be required to provide employment opportunities to MCC students through internships."

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More alternatives for alternative transportation

The University of Michigan recently awarded its MobiPrize to six standout entrepreneurs, including Ann Arbor's A2B Bikeshare, in the field of alternative transportation. These companies are offering everything from cost-efficient bike sharing to microcars for your commute and peer-to-peer ridesharing as a form of public transit. It would be good to see all of these surfacing on Detroit-area streets. 


"Bike sharing is popular in major cities around the world, but many government-funded programs have actually proven to be financial burdens.

"It's really expensive to use a kiosk system, there has to be something better," said Angsgar Strother, founder of A2B Bikeshare, which wants to give smaller cities the benefits of bike sharing without the cost.

Strother's approach involves eliminating the kiosks and docking pads of traditional bikeshare models and replacing them with a touchscreen console on the bike itself...

A2B is currently operating a pilot in Lansing, Mich. With a fleet of 20 bikes, members pay $40 per "season" (typically about four months) which gives them the first half hour of every ride free, plus a $2 for each additional half hour."

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Home sale prices up for 18th consecutive month in Metro Detroit

The spring and summer home-buying season resulted in double-digit price appreciation in all parts of the Detroit region.


"The median selling price of homes in metro Detroit climbed for an 18th straight month while the total number of homes sold continued to cool in August, according to figures released Monday by Realcomp.

The median selling price for homes in Metro Detroit rose 13.3 percent on an annual basis to $153,000. Total sales by units fell 10.4 percent to 4,888 homes, according to Realcomp, the Farmington Hills based Multiple Listing Service for southeast Michigan.

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Get your fun on in Detroit this fall

With everything from cider mills and a beer festival to films at the Old Redford Theatre to fall color tours, your fall weekends are booked through December.


"Every fall, you have to set aside some time to stare at some leaves. It’s just what you do. You can check out plenty of fall color tours  here, including metro Detroit-area highlights like Kensington Metropark, Stony Creek Metropark, and of course, Belle Isle...

Fall is a glorious time for beer in the mitten, and the annual Detroit Fall Beer Festival is a major highlight. This year boasts over 450 craft beers from 60 Michigan breweries, and aside from the booze, Eastern Market will also be teeming with plenty of local eats and  music."

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"The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation" show to premiere on CBS

The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation show featuring thinkers and doers is set to premiere on CBS's Saturday morning lineup, beginning Sept. 27.


"Hosted by Mo Rocca of CBS' "Sunday  Morning," will be a weekly celebration of the inventor’s spirit - from historic scientific pioneers throughout past centuries to the forward-looking visionaries of today. Each episode tells the dramatic stories behind the world’s greatest inventions - and the perseverance, passion and price required to bring them to life. Featuring the "what if it never happened," "the innovation by accident" and a strong focus on "junior geniuses" who are changing the face of technology, this series will appeal to young viewers and their families.

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Metro Detroit to be testing site for "smart" freeways, talking cars

The days where every car and driver are out for themselves may be numbered. The road is being laid for cameras, sensors, and car-to-car communication systems to improve traffic safety, and Metro Detroit is the hub of these new technologies.


"Southeast Michigan will lead the nation in drastically improving traffic safety and flow because of an expanded public-corporate project.

The Michigan Department of Transportation, General Motors, Ford and the University of Michigan will install a network of cameras and sensors along 120 miles of metro Detroit freeways that will propel development of safety technologies that help cars communicate with each other.

The MDOT announcement over the weekend coincided with the 2014 Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Detroit, where about 10,000 auto and technology industry leaders are gathering to discuss autonomous vehicles.

The collaborative venture expands a 2-year-old project already under way in Ann Arbor. It also should establish southeast Michigan as the hub of autonomous vehicle know-how.

When completed, it will be the largest deployment of its kind in the U.S., GM CEO Mary Barra said."

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Michigan ranks 4th in nation for best breweries

You can't do much better than Michigan for good beer tasting or even getting on tap to start your own brewing operation.


"The Great Lakes State may not be a prolific hops producer, or contain one brewery for every man, woman, and child (they do have about two for every 100,000 adults, according to the Brewers Association). But mittens were meant for holding cold brews, and Michigan happens to host some of the best damned breweries in the country...

Beer in Michigan is a way of life, an economic booster that’s helping Detroit pull out of the apocalypse and a soul cleanser up in the UP, where long winters are made better with a growler from Ore Dock. And if that’s not convincing enough, consider this: in Ann Arbor and East Lansing, when the chaos of a tailgate clears, you’ll see as many empty bottles of craft beer scattered about as you will tallboys with holes punched in the side. In Michigan, beer love starts early."

More here.

GM installs bikeshare program on corporate campus

You know that bikesharing is here to stay when an automaker is using them for transportation on its grounds.


"Even auto maker  General Motors  Co. is warming up to the car's two-wheeled nemesis. The company on Tuesday launched a system of 50 bikes on its sprawling 330-acre campus in Warren, Mich.

The 19,000 employees and contractors who work in its 61 buildings are often hard-pressed to find a parking that is close by, a spokeswoman said. And its shuttle buses don't stop at all the buildings, often forcing employees to walk long distances.

GM hopes the program will help it understand the increasing appeal of cycling to consumers who eschew driving for other means of transportation.

"We have to understand that to remain viable," the spokeswoman said."

More here

Raise your glasses! Pop-up biergarten fundraiser set for Sept. 20 on Belle Isle

On Sat., Sept.  20, the Belle Isle Conservancy  Emerging Patrons Council is creating a pop-up beer garden to raise funds for the installation of bike racks on the island. The beer garden will be located on the grounds of  the White House, the oldest building on the island, built in 1863.

Click here for more details.

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