Trending
Most Read
  • 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.

  • Food trucks go to the dogs

    Today, starting at 10am, Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck will be swinging by the  Cherry Hill Village at Preservation Park on  N. Roosevelt St. in Canton. They’ll be serving the pups (“gour-mutts,” as Milo’s calls them) treats and the dog parents the opportunity of “family portraits.” Milo’s is on a cross-country food truck trip, promoting their “grilled burger bites” and “chicken meatballs” to pup parents from L.A. to NYC, with stops in between, including Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, the Carolinas, and Arkansas. But watch out! Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck markets “real chicken and beef home-style dog treats” that are are “wholesome” and “authentic” without “artificial flavors or colors-made right here in the USA.” Authentic, processed food that is. Remember what George Carlin said about “home-style”? Their treats are also packed with soy, TVP, wheat flour, tapioca, rice, and sugar–fillers that make the meat go far and aren’t the best for your pup. They’re also packed with preservatives, like sodium erythorbate, nitrates, BHA, sodium tripolyphosphate, and potassium sorbate. Small amounts are probably ok, and no doubt the pup will love it, the same way it’s easy for humans to love carb- and sugar- laden, processed and preserved, treats.  

    The post Food trucks go to the dogs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych

    Coming up on August 16, former Detroit Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt will team up with the Navin Field Grounds Crew and Metro Times‘ own Dave Mesrey to honor legend Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. The festivities, known as the annual “Bird Bash,” will be held at the infamous Nemo’s Bar & Grill, and will benefit The Bird’s favorite charity, the Wertz Warriors, and also the Mark Fidrych Foundation. For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

    The post Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • First Little League game at Navin Field today

    Today Navin Field (the Old Tiger Stadium) hosts its first Little League game on a new field made just to host the youngsters! Here’s a photo of the game happening right now, courtesy Tom Derry and Metro Times‘ copy editor extraordinaire, Dave Mesrey: Stop by the site (corner of Michigan and Trumbull) today to watch history in the making!

    The post First Little League game at Navin Field today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit

    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

Calendar

Calendar

Search thousands of events in our database.

Restaurants

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Nightlife

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

MT on Twitter
MT on Facebook

Print Email

Feature

Bridge boom-doggle

Regulatory change would allow hazmats on Ambassador

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2013:01:22 05:36:25


There are two family-owned businesses that provide a way to move trucks across the river between Detroit and Windsor. One is big, well-known and politically powerful, the other small and relatively obscure.

Now one of them is seeking a regulatory change that, if approved, would likely put the other out of business.

Should the rest of us care?

Definitely.

Here’s what’s going on:

The Detroit International Bridge Company, which owns the Ambassador Bridge and is controlled by billionaire Manuel “Matty” Moroun and his family, is currently prohibited from allowing trucks carrying hazardous materials from using the aging span that connects Detroit and Windsor.

That’s been the law since the Ambassador Bridge was built in 1929.

Because trucks can’t use the tunnel running under the Detroit River, the only legal way to transport hazardous materials across this crucial border crossing is the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry, located near Zug Island, downriver from the Ambassador.

John Ward and his son Gregg started the ferry operation on Earth Day in 1990.

“We chose this start-up date … to symbolize our commitment to environmental stewardship and a belief that marine transportation can reduce highway congestion, air pollution and consumption of finite fossil fuels,” Gregg Ward told Congress back in 2007, when he offered testimony about border security in regard to transportation issues, calling for more government oversight.

At the time, he pointed out the risks inherent in having a private company controlling a link as vital to trade and the economy as the Ambassador, which carries 25 percent of all the goods moving across the border between the United States and Canada.

“Notwithstanding [the Ambassador Bridge’s] importance,” Ward stated in his testimony, “the U.S. Federal Highway Administration and the state of Michigan do not physically inspect the Ambassador Bridge. They are told by the private owners of the Ambassador Bridge … that government has no such authority.”

In that regard, nothing has changed in the five years since Ward made that testimony.

What has changed is that the bridge company has proposed that it be allowed to transport hazardous material, and the Michigan Department of Transportation, after conducting a review, is recommending that it be allowed to do so.

Those of a cynical bent could see the ferry service’s objections to the plan as being self-serving. Certainly, Gregg Ward doesn’t pull any punches when asked what would happen to his family’s business if the Ambassador is opened up to trucks carrying the sorts of hazardous materials — explosives, gases, flammable substances, poisonous materials and more — that currently come across the river on his company’s barges.

“It would put us out of business,” Ward says.

So, sure, there is self-interest involved.

But if you ask the people of southwest Detroit about the two family-owned companies, most will likely say the same thing as community activist Deb Sumner.

The owners of the ferry service, she says, are model corporate citizens.

“I’ve always felt that Gregg speaks from the heart,” says Sumner, who previously worked for the nonprofit Southwest Detroit Business Association. “He’s a truthful person.”

And the bridge company?

“They’ve lied to us about things straight out for years and years and years. Anything that comes out of their mouths is suspect.”

We called bridge company president Dan Stamper for comment, but he didn’t get back to us. That could be because, like Sumner, we here at the Hits have long been critical of Matty Moroun and his minions.

Besides that, self-interested or not, Ward raises points that are undeniable. Among the most pertinent of them is this: As it is now, the only thing that keeps the Detroit International Bridge Co. from having a complete monopoly over cross-border truck traffic between Detroit and Windsor is the ferry service. Without those barges going back and forth, there would be no other option.

None.

And that, from any perspective other than that of the DIBC itself, can’t be seen as a good thing.

When the bridge was temporarily shut down immediately after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the ferry kept operating, prompting General Motors to write a letter to U.S. customs officials, stating, “The Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry became our only alternative that would enable General Motors to continue operation of the Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly Plant.”

More recently, the ferry was able to keep trucks moving across the river when the Ambassador was temporarily closed after receiving a bomb threat last summer. The same thing was true just last week as hundreds of people participating in the Idle No More protests, taking place across Canada to support First Nations rights, “gathered at the Ambassador Bridge to temporarily snarl transport-truck traffic at the busiest border crossing in the country,” according to a Canadian Press report.

It is called “redundancy,” and the need for it is one of the primary reasons the state of Michigan, along with the Canadian government, are pushing ahead with plans to build a new publicly owned bridge near where the ferry is located.

The ferry also allows for the transport of things too big or heavy to cross the Ambassador, such as auto company presses and massive wind turbines.

So you don’t need to be the owner of the ferry to see that its service is a vital one, and that its loss would pose a real threat to Michigan’s economy.

But there’s more to the issue than just that.

Among those expressing concern over MDOT’s recommended approval of the bridge company’s proposal is state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat who represents southwest Detroit.

“Given the age and security requirements of the Ambassador Bridge, opening it up for transport of dangerous hazmat, as the [MDOT] report suggests, endangers the public,” Tlaib warned in a message sent to constituents.

The crucial thing here is that approval hasn’t yet been granted. Tlaib is calling for a public hearing to be held before any decision is made. That seems likely to happen.

In addition, the public comment period remains open. If you’d like to weigh in, contact Robert H. Parsons, Public Involvement Officer, MDOT, PO Box 30050, Lansing, MI 48909. Parsons can also be reached via email at parsonsb@michigan.gov and by fax at 517-373-9255.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus