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  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.

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Politics & Prejudices

Don’t rail against buses

Why a big new system beats a little old line

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I remember the first time I heard about the possibility of building light rail along Woodward Avenue. I thought that was really neat. I had visions of hopping on the train in Ferndale, where I lived, and going to Detroit Tigers' games.

That would have been especially appealing because I didn't have a car. That's because I was still in high school then ... and Lyndon Johnson was still president of the United States.

Guess what. 

Damn good thing I decided not to wait for the morning train, and eventually bought a car. Long ago, it became painfully clear that I was no more going to see light rail in my lifetime than I was going to be summoned to play for the Tigers.

Yes, as my hair grayed and the country marched through war after war, Our Elected Leaders dangled the prospects of light rail before us from time to time. But anyone who looked below the surface and the talk of federal money for startup grants could see that Detroit's real problem with getting light rail was exactly the same one the Big Bopper made famous.

The Big Bopper, aka J.P. Richardson, is today best remembered as the least well-known of the musicians who died in the famous Day-the-Music-Died 1959 plane crash. He is relevant to this discussion because of the elegant philosophical view expressed in his one big hit: "Chantilly Lace":

This is it, put as succinctly as only he could:

"I ain't got no money, honey."

Neither does Detroit. So you might say I wasn't completely surprised when the government pulled the plug on the light rail plan last week. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood politely said he was pulling the plug because he doubted the city could pay the operating costs.

Mayor Dave Bing and Gov. Rick Snyder supported that decision, which surprised some people. But what else could they do? As things now stand, the city is currently going to run out of cash for paper clips by spring. The governor has ordered a preliminary review of the city's finances, which is what they do when they are getting ready to name an emergency manager.

Had they decided to start a light rail system, my guess would be that we would have ended up in a few years, after hundreds of millions were squandered, with some abandoned trenches in the ground, and thousands of carless Detroiters would be no closer to actually being able to get to work.

Yet the transportation secretary did, to my delighted surprise, announce something that we can get excited about.

High-speed, rapid bus lines throughout Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. These wouldn't be your familiar dirty, frequently out-of-repair Detroit and suburban buses.

Those bus systems we have now are seldom punctual or efficient, and they certainly aren't coordinated. What the federal, state and local governments are doing instead, in Ray LaHood's words, is coming together "around a high-tech vision that will provide state-of-the-art, reliable transit to far more people and in a far more cost-effective way," than rail.

What they are proposing is a system of futuristic-looking buses that resemble train engines on wheels — and which are already in use in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. These buses have accordion-like pleats in the center and special technology to allow them to control traffic signals. That means they wouldn't have to stop for red lights. Bing, Snyder and LaHood are talking about four lines and, at least to start, 34 stations.

Sixteen of these would be in Wayne County; nine each in Oakland and Macomb. That makes far more sense than a light rail line that only goes as far as the Detroit border. Most people in the city who have jobs work in communities outside Detroit.

Light rail would take years and years to build, even if money were not a problem. Rapid bus service could be a reality within three to five years, everyone in the know says.

There is a catch: The Michigan Legislature would have to approve a rapid bus system, and do it soon. Transportation Secretary LaHood says he is prepared to offer the metro area millions to help build this — but under two conditions.

Besides legislative approval, our leaders, whoever they are, would have to set up an approved body to run the new systems. Plus, money would have to be found to pay the annual operating costs. That would likely mean a regional tax.

That's something that would have to be approved by the voters. Getting this through the Legislature ought to be possible, may not be all that easy. There are a number of people in there who hate, fear and distrust Detroit, and are unwilling to consider anything they might see as helping the city.

There are others who think anything any government does is bad, and anything paid for with tax dollars is worse, except, that is, for their own salaries.

Nevertheless, it should be a lot easier to get support for rapid buses than rapid rail. But what is threatening most to sabotage this is not the Tea Party fanatics but the die-hard mass transit supporters, who are bawling "trains of nothing."

TRU, or Transportation Riders United, issued a press release claiming light rail "could have brought in $2-$3 billion in new economic development," and produced far more tax revenue than needed to run the system.

Mayor Bing, they charged, has tossed away "an economic development opportunity that could have been the centerpiece of Detroit's revitalization."

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