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    The Metro Times is looking to hear your experiences will sexual assault on a Michigan college campus — from anything to how many sexual assault prevention programs, rape kits or crisis centers you may have had access to, to how the administration or local law enforcement handled your experience. If you, or anyone you know might be interested in talking to a reporter at the Metro Times, please email us at

    The post Metro Times seeking stories of college sexual assault appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Get ready for National Tequila Day!

    Thursday, July 24th marks National Tequila Day, and forget everything you know about the beverage. Those nasty old “tequilas” of yesterday were find for doing body shots, but tequila has become something of a luxury spirit while few were paying attention. Have you tried all the varieties of tequila? Can you tell the difference between blanco, joven, reposed, añejo and extra añejo?  If your local bar doesn’t have the stuff that will help you celebrate this important holiday, there are several bars that cater just to the tequila fan. There’s Aqua Rum and Tequila Bar in the MGM Grand Detroit Casino in Detroit, as well as Rojo Mexican Bistro in Novi, which offers more than 100 kinds of tequila, and Taqo Detroit, a new spot serving American-friendly Mexican fare and serving an astonishing variety of tequilas, more than 200 in all. Been waiting for a reason to drink up this south-of-the-border nectar? You got it. Guzzle responsibly.    

    The post Get ready for National Tequila Day! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs

    In light of worldwide attention on its efforts to cut water service for thousands of Detroit residents, the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department said today it would host a Water Affordability Fair on August 2nd to explain options available to those facing financial hardship. DWSD officials said in a news release today the fair will be take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the department’s Eastside Customer Service Center at 13303 E. McNichols. The move came on the heels of growing pressure from opponents of the initiative and criticism from the U.S. bankruptcy judge overseeing Detroit’s Chapter 9 case. “Every customer that has come to DWSD with a legitimate financial hardship has not had their water service terminated,” said Darryl Latimer, DWSD deputy director, in a statement. “In cases where the water has been shut off, it’s been restored. We keep hearing at DWSD that there are poor people who are not receiving the assistance that they need, so we want to help them and we want to make it as easy as possible for the to receive that help. That’s why we created the Water Affordability Fair – ease of access and ease of assistance. We are here to […]

    The post DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation

    The folks at Thrillist have again compiled their annual list of the nation’s best burgers, and Southeast Michigan, it seems, is well represented. Ranking alongside joints in major cities such as New York and L.A., is Detroit’s own Motz’s Burgers, hailed specifically for its Double Cheeseburger Slider. Via Thrillist: There’s nothing remarkable about the façade of this SW diner… it’s just a diner, like the hundreds of others in the D. The staff’s been there for years… and so have the regulars, who can’t get enough of Motz’s legendary smashed burgers. The formula’s nothing revolutionary: smashed, griddled patties with oozy cheese and onions that melt into the burger itself as it cooks. But it’s that unmistakable flavor of a well-seasoned griddle — which has also been here for years — that makes the difference. You can score big burgers with accoutrements, but this isn’t really a place to say things like “accoutrements”. Grab the old-school slider (the double cheeseburger one), and prepare for three perfect bites of Detroit’s finest. Flint’s Torch Bar and Grill also made the cut, most notably for its Deluxe Torch Burger with Bacon. Tucked away in an alley beyond the brick streets that used to mark […]

    The post Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know!

    The Metro Times is looking for college students or graduates of Michigan colleges that used atypical means to pay for their schooling (i.e. sugar baby, selling underwear, military enrollment purely for school help, etc.). We are looking for personal anecdotes about the lengths you went to help pay for school, what came of it, your monetary situation, if the resource worked to get you through college and more. If you have utilized any one of these avenues, or know someone who has, please drop us a line at

    The post In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit

    File under “WTF” — attorneys representing former Psychopathic Records publicist Andrea Pellegrini announced Monday that they have subpoenaed Kid Rock to produce a glass dildo as part of Pellegrini’s sexual harassment lawsuit against the Insane Clown Posse’s record label. Pellegrini claims the glass dildo was given to her by Psychopathic Records employee “Dirty Dan” Diamond as part of a larger culture of constant harassment in which she was called “bitch,” made the target of explicit sexual advances by Diamond and other co-workers, asked to procure automatic weapons for a photo shoot, and even encouraged to “deceive government investigators from the US Department of Labor.” On Friday, Diamond admitted under oath that he told Pellegrini that he had “a fat cock” and that he would “fuck the shit out of her.” The dildo, though, was “a work of art,” according to Diamond, and should not be considered sexual harassment. Why is Kid Rock involved? Diamond says when Pellegrini declined his dildo, he gave it to Kid Rock instead (presumably as a “work of art” and not a sexual advance). So now, according to court orders, Rock has 14 days to produce the glass dildo so the court can better determine if it is art or, well, a dildo. We will […]

    The post Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Stir It Up

'Money talks'

The city can't respond to requests from everyday Detroiters, but jumps when the rich call

Photo: , License: N/A

The garden next to St. John Evangelist Temple of Truth. The church has been trying to buy adjacent properties since the Archer administration.

Photo: , License: N/A

A sculpture by Kef Parker funded by Kresge Foundation in the St. John's church garden.

Jerry Ann Hebron had a story to tell last week at the listening session sponsored by the Detroit Food Policy Council at Gleaners Food Bank.

Hebron is the executive director of nonprofit and community relations at St. John Evangelist Temple of Truth on Oakland Avenue, a couple of blocks south of the Bing Industries Complex. She says her job is to make sure the church is connected to the community. I spoke to her again the day after the listening session. This is her story.

About 15 years ago, the city tore down the building next to the church, backfilled the space and leveled it — making a total of 10 vacant lots along Oakland between St. John and Red's Jazz Shoeshine shop, a legendary parlor Motown entertainers were known to frequent back in the day.

Church members became concerned when the lots became overgrown; the area is one block south of Loving Elementary School. "We are a passageway to the neighborhood school, and there are seniors in wheelchairs in the area," Hebron says. "We saw the need to manage the land."

The church assumed the responsibility for mowing the lots during the summer and shoveling snow off the sidewalk along the lots during the winter. After a couple of years, the church received a bill from the city for mowing and upkeep of the property that the church didn't even own — and that the city had not been taking care of. Luckily the church had receipts from the landscaper and was able to prove its case. 

St. John is a small congregation with only 50 members, but they decided to buy the three lots closest to the church. They were already paying for the upkeep. Then, in 1999, they decided to buy the remaining seven lots. They applied to purchase the lots and began a dialogue with the city Planning and Development Department. They were told the city had to assess the value of the lots, which are in a commercial zone. Several months later the city told them the seven lots would cost $11,000. 

Although it was expensive, the church put down a $1,120 deposit and submitted a plan for off-street parking to the city. They never got a response — no letter, no phone call, no e-mail. After a few years, Hebron contacted Alvin Mitchell at the planning department. He told her he would get back to her but didn't. Her repeated visits garnered the same response for a couple of years. Then, in 2006, she was told that there was another developer interested in the property. A city official, whom Hebron declined to name, had put a hold on the property. That halted the church's plans, although they saw no development taking place on the properties. 

In 2009, Hebron checked to see what was happening and found out the hold had been removed from the properties. St. John was asked to resubmit its application. Hebron submitted a new application with pictures of the work church members had done on the property. Again there was no response from the city — no denial, nothing.

In 2011, Hebron was at the planning department doing business related to a house behind the church that the congregation had purchased. Members are planning a commercial kitchen there for church members to can vegetables from their garden and possibly develop a small business. She happened to be on the elevator with Mitchell and asked him about the seven lots they had applied for. Mitchell checked the status of the application and told Hebron it was old and the church should reapply. St. John was the only interested party, but was required to submit a development plan. Hebron says she resubmitted the application but has not received a response from the city.

St. John's congregation has put a split rail fence along the front of the lots they own, started the Oakland Avenue Community Garden, put in a hoop greenhouse, planted 16 lilac bushes, seven pear trees, and built benches for folks to relax. In 2010, thanks to a $40,000 Kresge grant, they commissioned a sculpture by artist Kef Parker that incorporates a 675-gallon stone cistern that uses a passive water collection system for watering the garden. St. John and Red's are the only establishments on the block. Across the street every building is deserted.

All the city seems to have done for St. John in this case is lose any record of the money that the church deposited.

How could the city's handling of this be considered anything but incompetence of the highest order? Not to mention unfair when a city insider was able to hold up the process. (Was it for personal gain? Likely we'll never know.) Several folks made similar complaints at the meeting, although none seemed to have suffered for the length of time that the good people of St. John have. Their woe has stretched through the Archer, Kilpatrick, Cockrel and Bing administrations.

Robert Anderson, director of the city's Planning and Development Department, seemed to agree with Hebron and others at the gathering that the city has fallen down on the job regarding land sales and management. "The City Charter says we sell land," says Anderson of his department. "I don't think I can walk you through that process." 

Anderson and Marcell Todd, director of the city Planning Commission (which is in charge of zoning issues), were apologetic to the 200 or so folks at the meeting, which was co-sponsored by Gleaners Food Bank, the Riverfront East Congregational Initiative and the Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative. Part of the motivation for the session was the recent sale of about 1,900 city parcels to Hantz Farms for about $600,000 — approximately $300 per lot. Hantz plans to grow high-value hardwood trees on the properties. The Hantz sale is seems a slap in the face for many Detroit residents who for years have been trying unsuccessfully to purchase lots from the city.

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