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  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday 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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