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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.



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Stir It Up

Heavy lifting

Hard work in Detroit revising a charter, rethinking jobs

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That isn't so settled in Kenyatta's mind, for one. "What the charter calls for is the city to investigate," he says. "We haven't had an opinion by the attorney general. No opinion by a court. It could be done by the city, or a nonprofit established for redress or relief on the part of our citizens for a better insurance solution. I think that's one of the more progressive parts of the revised charter. ... It doesn't mandate that we own an insurance company. I don't know why anybody would be opposed to that."

It could be a bit of vote-bait. But high home and auto insurance rates are an albatross around the necks of city dwellers, effectively an added tax, and a big reason why some people won't live here. I don't know why it has to be in the charter, but again, it doesn't hurt.

The impetus for the charter revision was the Kwame Kilpatrick text-messaging scandal. City Council wasn't able to remove him from office and — specifically to address that issue — put the question of a new Charter Commission on the May 2009 special election ballot. Voters approved the proposal. In November 2009, voters approved a proposal to elect City Council by districts, which mandated a change in the charter. There are 144 changes in the proposed document, many grammatical, but there are also substantive and deep changes in the way we do things. You can find the revised charter at, which has commentary after every change explaining the differences with the past charter. The CFDF web site,, has links to the full current charter and the revised charter and its arguments for a "no" vote. 

"I think that the citizens have to look at the charter from the perspective of whether or not it means better government for them, not if it benefits me as a councilperson or as a mayor," Kenyatta says. "Does it allow an individual to have a government and participate in government from a better position than now? I think that there are clearly some positive progressive steps forward. It is not 100 percent."

The November election will probably be a very low-turnout affair in Detroit. We're not voting for mayor or any key elected official, and there is little discussion about the election in the media. That makes it possible that a small but dedicated group could swing the election. 

If it doesn't pass, we'll be voting on the City Charter again in February.

There is no such thing as a perfect document that's going to make everybody happy. Try to learn as much as you can about it and vote. We could be rolling sevens or setting ourselves up for a seven-year itch.


What is work?

Presently jobs, or the lack thereof, are the biggest issue dogging the run for next year's presidential election. Jobs were also central in the UAW's recent contract negotiations with the Detroit automakers. That is deservedly so, but a deeper discussion about the nature of work beyond something we do for money grew out of last year's United States Social Forum. That discussion is getting bigger with the Re-Imagining Work conference held at Detroit's Focus Hope Oct. 28-30. 

"How do we do the kind of daily activity that grows our souls so that we don't have to make up for the indignities of our labor?" asks activist-philosopher Grace Boggs. That question is the starting point for activists from Detroit and elsewhere over the weekend.

"The spirit that informs this gathering is the sense that we're in a real paradigm shift economically, politically and spiritually," says writer (and former UAW spokesman) Frank Joyce, who will speak at the conference. "The event is one of hope and looking forward in contrast to a lot of what I personally think is people looking backward trying to re-create the way things used to be as opposed to the way things need to be and can be right now."—L.G.


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