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  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit comes weeks after a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month found a growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The investigation found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup

    The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup is more than just a celebration — although with the recent shift in attitudes toward marijuana legalization, there certainly is much to celebrate.  HT‘s Danny Danko described it as “just like any other harvest festival or a county fair where people bring their best produce, their best pigs and horses and cows, and they compete with each other for bragging rights, basically.” Here are a list of winners from this year’s Cannabis Cup, who did indeed walk home with some well-deserved bragging rights — if anyone knows their marijuana it’s High Times: Indica 1ST - Oasis Medical Seeds - Paris OG 2ND - Herbal Solutions - Alien Dawg F2 3RD - Herban Legendz, LLC - Grape OX Sativa 1ST - Arborside Compassion - CATFISH 2ND - Organibliss - Ghost Train Haze #1 3RD - We Grow Education and Collective Centers - MelonGum Hybrid 1ST - Herbal Solutions - Gorilla Glue 2ND - Pure West Compassion Club - Death Star 3RD - Kushman Veganics for Buds & Roses - Veganic Candyland Concentrate 1ST - Mr. B’s Extracts - Raskal’s Lemon 2ND - 710 Savant - Kosher Kush Dewaxed 3RD - Oasis Medical / Vader Extracts / Dab Vader - Candy Jack Shatter Non-Solvent Hash 1ST - NLG - Jedi Kush Ice Wax 2ND - Arborside Compassion - HeadCandy Kush Hash 3RD - New World Seeds Resource […]

    The post Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State Mandated ProLife Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that maybe inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio

    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list

    Yes, it’s true. Forbes says Detroit is one of America’s most creative cities: “We ranked these places based on four metrics: activity per capita on project-funding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo and music sites Bandcamp and ReverbNation. The goal was to capture organic creativity, since many artistic and musical types have “day jobs” outside of creative pursuits.” The Forbes list sandwiches #9 Detroit between #8 Seattle and #10 Oakland, Calif. If you are watching the art and culture explosion happening right now in Detroit, you probably think we should rank higher than #2 Boston and #1 San Francisco, if only for the fact that it’s actually affordable to create here and there is space for everyone to be creative. But hey, those metrics weren’t part of the equation. And there’s always next year.

    The post ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Best of Detroit 2013

Public Square - Reader's Choice

Reader's choice for Metro Detroit

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


Best Local Social Activist

Grace Lee Boggs

At 97, Boggs has earned the title “living legend.” The daughter of Chinese immigrants, she earned a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr and then went on to make her mark as a lefty intellectual, a feminist, and a social activist. She’s co-written three books — including collaborations with husband Jimmy Boggs, who died almost 20 years ago — and authored two books on her own, including a remarkable autobiography titled Living for Change. In 1994, she co-founded Detroit Summer, “a multi-racial, inter-generational collective” that serves as a training ground for activists, attracting young people from around the country each year. And her longtime home on the city’s east side has been transformed into the nonprofit Boggs Center, which was created “to nurture the transformational leadership capacities of individuals and organizations committed to creating productive, sustainable, ecologically responsible and just communities,” as described on its website. “Through local, national and international networks of activists, artists and intellectuals, we foster new ways of living, being and thinking to face the challenges of the 21st century.” In her view, the crumbling of Detroit represents the failure of capitalism, and its rebirth will come not from the actions of elected leaders, but through action at the grassroots level, building up. She’s one of the reasons the urban agriculture movement is now a key part of the city’s regneration. In progressive circles around the world, she is reverered. And here at home, we know that she’s truly the Best.


Best Local Nonprofit Organization

The Salvation Army

The primary mission of the Salvation Army, as its name implies, is to save souls. Many of us, though, see it as a great way to save money by shopping at its thrift stores, buying up donated clothing and household items at bargain prices. The Army sprang from the poverty-stricken slums of East London in 1865 and landed in Detroit two decades later. We’ve all seen the bell-ringers shivering alongside their donation kettles at Christmastime, but a lot of people might not be aware of all the other good things these Christian soldiers do throughout the year, from disaster services to social services, feeding the hungry, providing shelter to the homeless and helping the addicted get off drugs and alcohol. There’s also the William Booth Legal Aid Clinic, which provides free legal assistance to individuals from Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Wayne counties who live at or below the national poverty guidelines.


Best Recent Change in Detroit

New businesses and residents, construction and renovation, from downtown to midtown

There was a time not all that long ago when people would have been hard-pressed to identify any real positive change occurring in Detroit. Not any more. From the regional cooperation needed to pass a millage that put the Detroit Institute of Arts on a solid fincial footing (and enabled the museum to offer free admission to area residents) to the thriving Eastern Market to the expanding urban gardening movement there is much good going on that people can point to — including voter passage of an initiative legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana in the city and voter support statewide for a publicly owned span across the Detroit River that will end the monoply enjoyed by Matty Moroun and his Ambassador Bridge. But most heartening of all, in the eyes of our readers, has been the blossoming of midtown and downtown, with once-vacant buildings being renovated and people —many of them young and full of enthusiasm — deciding to make the city their new home.


Best Recent Change in Southeast Michigan

Creation of the Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority

It took more than 40 years of trying, but thanks to a lot of grassroots pressure, political leaders from around metro Detroit and in Lansing were finally able to all get on board at the same time to create the Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority. As a result, this area will now have what every other major metropolitan region of the country has — a single entity to coordinate mass transit throughout the region. The lack of an RTA is one of the big things derailing this area’s progress. Its creation, though, is only the first step for bringing a truly regional transit system to Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties. A board has to be put in place, and a funding system established, but the biggest roadblock — a willingness to come together as a region (at least in terms of providing mass transit) is now, thankfully, at last behind us.


Best Local Journalist

Charlie LeDuff

Fox 2

Our readers obviously appreciate that, along with being a reporter who generates one big scoop after another (Wayne County Judge Wade McCree is currently in some hot water as result of a story Charlie originally broke, and his reporting on the deplorable conditions at Detroit fire stations was absolutely first-rate), Fox2’s LeDuff is also an exceptional showman. Unfortunately for Charlie, who embraces the image of being a guy unchained, he may have recently showed a little too much, having just been arrested after allegedly taking a piss in public (he’s also accused of getting into a brawl and biting a security guard) at the St. Paddy’s Day Parade in Corktown. On the other hand, the escapade will almost certainly fuel interest in his new book, Detroit: An American Autopsy.


Best Local Newspaper Columnist

Jack Lessenberry

Metro Times

Jack may be the hardest-working guy in journalism. He’s ombudsman for the Toledo Blade, a political commentator for WUOM-FM (Ann Arbor’s public radio station), and the interim head of the journalism faculty at Wayne State University, where he’s been a longtime instructor. He’s also the Lou Gehrig of newspaper columnists, gracing the pages of the MT for 20 years, without ever — ever, ever — missing a week of his wildly popular “Politics & Prejudices” column. There are more than a few out there who read P&P because it makes their right-wing blood boil (and, on many occasions, arousing the ire of those who bleed blue as well), but, the thing is, people keep reading him, and then commenting on what he writes. Love him or hate him, no one can ever doubt exactly where Jack stands on an issue. Whether he’s using blunt intellectual force or stinging sarcasm, the one thing he’s not is a fence-straddler. And that’s what makes him the best.

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