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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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Stir It Up

Green underground

Second-guessing that apple orchard with Mulenga Haragua

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

I was out for a bike ride through Palmer Park on a sunny afternoon. I thought I'd take a look at the apple orchard that some folks are complaining about potentially attracting rats and causing their property values to plunge. I spotted Mulenga Harangua pedaling along on Pontchartrain Drive. He was on an old balloon-tired bike with a big basket in front carrying some plastic bags full of what looked like vegetables. I hadn't seen him in a few months, so I called out and pulled over to a picnic table to chat.

"Mulenga, how are you doing? You look like you lost some weight."

"Yeah, ever since I started this gardening thing a couple of years ago I've been evolving my diet, more of this green stuff and fewer potato chips and fast food." He pointed toward his plastic bags, which on closer inspection seemed to be mostly greens of some sort. "Plus I've been getting around on this old bike I pieced together from scrap parts. You get a lot of exercise riding one of these things."

"So what are you doing over this way?"

"I'm making my deliveries."


"Yeah, deliveries. I've got a few people I sell produce to. Right now I've got spinach and spring greens ready. I've bagged them up and I'm making the rounds of my customers. Once I finish selling these I'll have about $25 in my pocket. Despite the man trying to keep a brother down, I'm figuring out ways to make it."

"How'd you start with the produce delivery?"

"You remember that pregnant girl I was helping last year? She moved in with a family over this way and got them to start getting a few things from me. Well, they had a few friends who were interested too, so now I come through when I have something. "

"That sounds pretty good. Maybe you can get yourself a stall at one of these markets that are popping up around town."

Mulenga gave a practiced look over his shoulder as though he were checking for someone creeping up on him before he spoke. "No thanks. I don't want to get into all that overhead and paying taxes and whatnot. I like to keep things close to the vest."

"So you want to keep your business on System D."

Mulenga grinned at the suggestion. "What's that, some kind of special Detroit thing? It sounds cool — System D." He started to do a little dance, "I'm rolling in the D."

"System D isn't something specific to Detroit. It's a term that the writer Robert Neuwirth uses to refer to the shadow economy, or informal economy. He published a book last year called Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy. System D refers to a sort of black market economy where people do business off the books. No reporting, no taxes. It's like when you do some work for someone, say paint the garage, and they pay you cash."

"I do that all the time. I didn't know they had a name for it. ... System D." He said the last two words slowly, like he was savoring the way they felt as they rolled off his tongue. 

"Neuwirth took it from the French term débrouillard. It means someone who is self-reliant or ingenious. In former French colonies in Africa it came to refer to the street corner type business, l'économie de la débrouillardise."

Mulenga gave me a big, wide smile. "So it's an African thing. I can get next to that."

"It's also an illegal thing. This is business off the books. It can be anything from drug dealing and prostitution to paying illegal immigrants under the table. It can also be as simple as babysitting, lawn mowing, or ladies who do their friends' hair on the back porch."

"So I'm part of a pretty big thing?"

"Neuwirth claims it's a $10 trillion per year economy — $1.2 trillion in the United States alone. I couldn't find out anything about Detroit. Nobody answered the telephone at the city Finance Department when I made a couple of calls there, and someone I got hold of at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation said she didn't even know how you'd track that. But I did find an estimate that 10 to 20 percent of Michigan's economy is in the shadows."

"Well, I'll tell you that System D is big in the D. I pick up scrap metal sometimes and that is all off the books with those guys. Whenever I do odd jobs they're cash only. I certainly don't report when I sell a few bags of greens. If it wasn't for System D I would be out in the cold."

"I don't doubt that System D was made for you."

Mulenga surveyed the area near where we sat. "What's with all those little trees that look like they were just planted?"

"That's the apple orchard that People for Palmer Park planted a couple of months ago."

"I heard about that. Isn't that the one that some folks around here are all upset about? They went to the City Council saying that it's going to draw rats and stuff."


"But there are rats all over the city. It seems like they could be attracted to an orchard."

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