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Detroit home purchase strikes national chord

A must-read story (it's gotten over 1 million views) from a 20-something who buys and fixes up a shell of a home in Detroit, and in the process builds something much bigger.

Excerpt:

"I wanted something nobody wanted, something that was impossible. The city is filled with these structures, houses whose yellowy eyes seem to follow you. It would be only one house out of thousands, but I wanted to prove it could be done, prove that this American vision of torment could be built back into a home...

“Just looking at it, it’s a lot of work,” the neighbor across the street said, figuring I would give up after a month or two. There were no doors or windows, plumbing or electricity, nothing. There was a pornographic hole in the roof..."

More here.

M-1 Rail to start construction this year, seeks bids from local contractors

Work on the M-1 Rail starts rolling this year, but first off: the bid process.

Excerpt:

"Detroit's $137 million, 3.3-mile M-1 Rail streetcar project along Woodward is seeking proposals from local contractors and suppliers as it aims to start construction this year...

"The release of the bid packages is another important step forward for this project," said Paul Childs, M-1 Rail chief operating officer.

"Our construction manager has indicated the streetcar project has generated significant interest from the local contractor and supplier community, so they’re expecting to receive a very strong response to their requests for proposal."

Childs said M-1 expects to get 5,000 riders a day, about 1.8 million annually, when it starts service in 2016."

More here.

Immigrants seen as way to shore up Detroit economy

Detroit may once again become the go-to city for highly-skilled immigrants.

Excerpt:

"For Detroit, a city that has watched a population in free fall, officials have a new antidote: immigrants.

Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan on Thursday announced plans to seek federal help in bringing 50,000 immigrants to the bankrupt city over five years as part of a visa program aimed at those with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in science, business or the arts...

Mr. Snyder said demand already exists for experts in fields like engineering, technology and health care. And he noted that Michigan colleges and universities are home to tens of thousands of international students — many of whom, he said, ought not depart after graduation."

More here.

16 must-dos for visitors to Metro Detroit

An out-of-towner does the grand tour of metro Detroit's dining and rec spots, from Ferndale's Pinwheel Bakery to "Rogue Urban Putt-Putt" in Southwest Detroit.

Excerpt:

"Little known fact about Detroit? It has the second largest Middle Eastern population in the world – outside of the Middle East. You know what this means? Outstanding food – with Pita Café being my most favorite of all. I want to live in a world where I can swim in pools of their garlic sauce, have an endless supply of their fattoush salad and kegs of their freshly squeezed juices.

VERY CRITICAL NOTE: You must go to the  Pita Café in Oak Park. I have tried other locations, and they just don’t have the magic touch of the Oak Park location....

My husband, David, is from Catalonia, Spain. He finds U.S. cities without a “center” for shopping, eating and gathering – confounding. I took him to  Plymouth, a suburb outside of the Detroit to please him.

Plymouth transcends the typical small town with its real shops, great selection of restaurants and multiple streets and blocks of retail space. It even, to David’s delight, has what he would consider a town square. Every visit to Plymouth always lands me at Sean O’Callaghans  (it is obvious that is an Irish Pub, right?) for food and drink."

More here.

Henry Ford Health System receives $3M grant for digital health incubator

The healthcare field is getting a technology upgrade with Henry Ford Health System's receipt of a $3 million grant to establish the  William Davidson Center  for Entrepreneurs in Digital Health.

Excerpt:

"The Davidson Center hopes to bring together innovators, educators, and corporate partners from around the world to create new technologies and companies focused on the intersection of health care and information technology.

Another goal of the grant will be to establish an educational curriculum that integrates entrepreneurship, healthcare, and digital technologies, with programs to be created for Henry Ford physicians and staff, medical residents, and middle and high school students in the community."

More here.


Detroit Metro Airport has $10.2 billion economic impact on state

The state has reaped $10.2 billion in economic impact from operations at Detroit Metro Airport, which has also generated 86,000 jobs, according to a study conducted by U-M Dearborn and the Wayne County Airport Authority.

Excerpt:

"The report found that about 32 million passengers travel through DTW annually, including about 3.1 million “business and pleasure travelers” who stay in Michigan after arriving. About 660,000 people travel through DTW for the sole purpose of buying Michigan products or services."

More here.

Batman V. Superman film to spend $131M shooting in Michigan

Hollywood's latest caper? Spending some powerful bucks on filming superheros in our neck of the woods.

Excerpt:

"The Michigan Film Office reports the highly anticipated BATMAN V. SUPERMAN blockbuster will begin shooting in Michigan next month. The MAN OF STEEL sequel will have a Michigan budget of $131 million – out of a total estimated budget of $250 million - making it the largest production shot in Michigan to date, a title previously held by OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL."

More here.

Grosse Pointe businesses swap shops and find success

Place matteres, whether it's a clothing store of downtown neighborhood or an entire community. Here's a lesson every level can learn from: be flexible and find the right fit. A pair of neighboring businesses in Grosse Pointe discovered that their retail spaces were the wrong size, so they traded addresses. The result has been better business for both.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The Grosse Pointe neighbors are just one example of a number of Metro Detroit businesses that needed to upsize or downsize in 2013. From downtown Detroit to Ferndale, shop owners are realizing how important space, or lack thereof, is to their success and failure, analysts say."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

How do you build an innovative, entrepreneurial community?

Anchor institutions are good. A well-developed community of small startups with young entrepreneurs is also good. A healthy mix of both seems to be best. But the devil is the details.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The study essentially argues that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to creating an innovative tech economy. Though civic boosters love to tout single-solution policies — by focusing on attracting one major tech firm, or by bolstering their start-up ecology — a mix of both approaches may be far more effective and prudent."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Bike-share programs spread across Michigan

After a century of enshrining the automobile as the only vehicle worthy of consideration, Michigan has read the national trend tea leaves and sees a future filled with bicycles.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Bike-sharing systems exploded across U.S. cities in 2013, with programs in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Chattanooga, and on more than 30 college campuses. The nation’s bike-sharing fleet doubled in 2013, will double again this year, and is expected to be four times as big in 2015 as it was in 2012, according to the Earth Policy Institute, an environmental group.
 
The systems are even more popular in Europe and especially in China, where bike sharing is used by millions of people to get around the country’s burgeoning cities.
 
Michigan is pedaling fast to catch up, even though it still hasn’t seen a bike-sharing system along the lines of those in other cities."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Bike lanes, bike-friendly projects to get rolling in Metro Detroit this spring

Metro Detroiters should get a lot more mileage out of their bikes with all of the bike lane projects and infratructure planned for 2014. 

Excerpt: 

Warren, Detroit, Ferndale and the Grosse Pointes are among communities planning significant bicycle-friendly projects in the new year, with construction on several to start in the spring...

This year alone, Detroit added about 80 miles of bike lanes and sharrows — standard traffic lanes with shared lane markings. That brings the city's total to more than 150 miles, Scott said.

"It's pretty exciting, some of these bigger projects coming through," Scott said. Also, Ferndale is planning bike lanes on Livernois that should ultimately help connect Detroit to downtown Ferndale, he said.

More here.

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. 

Excerpt:

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!

Excerpt:

"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.
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