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  • 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.

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Politics & Prejudices

Riding Michigan’s roads to ruin

As state’s infrastructure crumbles, Lansing’s yahoos balk at funding road repair

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


Last weekend, best-selling author Jeff Zaslow was driving home to West Bloomfield from a book-signing event in Petoskey.

He never got very far. He apparently hit a patch of ice, and went into the path of a tractor-trailer. I knew him only very slightly, but he was, by all accounts, a very decent man. A few hours later I was on the same stretch of road. We also hit unsuspected ice, and went sailing into the oncoming lane. Except, fortunately, nobody was coming.

Had this happened two minutes later, we would have been in the path of a giant truck hauling propane. The road was littered with wrecks, and at one point near Kalkaska, six ambulances rushed by with sirens wailing. This was white-knuckle stuff of the worst kind.

Later, I mentioned this to Mark Dobias, an irreverent and highly skilled lawyer who defends clients all across Michigan's north country. "Never underestimate the capriciousness of northern Michigan Roads and big trucks in the winter. I know this stretch well. Never assume that a road is plowed, salted or sanded in these days of reduced manpower. No matter what the man says."

Naturally, I don't know if Zaslow would have survived or I would have had an easier time if the roads had been better maintained. It wasn't a good day to be driving, period.

What I do know is that Michigan roads are in bad shape and getting worse. Officially, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) says almost 90 percent of our roads are in good or fair condition. To anyone who drives a lot around Detroit, that may seem a trifle overoptimistic. But things may soon get worse, fast.

We've been neglecting the long-term needs of our roads and bridges for a long time, and MDOT also estimates that unless we start spending a whole lot more on them, in a mere eight years from now, only 44 percent of our roads will be in tolerable shape.

Yep, I look forward to driving on gravel, with chunks of concrete falling on my car from decaying overpasses. I'll bet that's just the way to attract a lot of new business to the state too.

Gov. Rick Snyder gets that. Now, I know I will be slammed as an apologist for him by some on the left who are waiting for Zolton Ferency or Ken Cockrel the first to come back and save us. However, the reality is that Democrats have no power in today's Lansing.

Nada, zip. And in many ways — not by any means all — Snyder is relatively enlightened, especially compared to many of the corrupt and/or stupid trolls in the Legislature. The governor wants to dedicate $1.4 billion in new spending to our roads, the minimum amount the experts say we need to prevent them from getting much worse.

Unfortunately, this will take money. Last year, he proposed financing much of this with a hefty vehicle registration fee increase. The lawmakers acted as if he had dropped a stone into their soup.

They utterly ignored his proposal. This year, Snyder is proposing a more modest registration fee increase, and to get most of the money by increasing the gas tax by nine cents a gallon.

Sound like a lot? You would scarcely notice. The price of gas ping-pongs around now, fluctuating by as much as 30 cents from day to day. You really would end up saving money, even in the relatively short run. Federal data shows drivers in the Detroit area pay an average of $536 a year more for extra gas and extra repairs because of problem roads.

I paid more than that a few years ago, when I lost a wheel to a pothole on the Lodge Freeway. Spending to fix our roads is about as much of a no-brainer as buying a warm coat in February.

Yet, incredibly, there is a chance the delta-minus thinkers in the Legislature could refuse to vote to approve extra money to fix our roads. This is an election year for every member of the Michigan House. A few of them are ignorant and fanatic Tea Party members, who regard any tax increase as evil, even if not spending the money would wreck civilization and cost us all more in the long run.

Others are afraid of being challenged in primary elections by Tea Party fanatics, or of being painted as tax-and-spenders in the general election. Sadly, a few empty-headed liberals feel the same way. When M-Live blogger Jeff Wattrick presented a detailed analysis of the road situation a few weeks ago, he was savaged by a procession of infantile left-wing posters.

"I'm poor and can't afford it," one said. Others whined that we have too many roads, the rich should be made to pay, we should all take trains instead, etc., etc. Well, that's all very nice.

Unfortunately, those who work for a living have to live in the world we've got. Common sense may be a pretty uncommon thing, but we damn well need a dose of it. Whether you are poor or rich, want to get to a job, find a job to get to, or attract new business and industry to the state, you need good roads and bridges that aren't falling apart and wrecking the cars passing under them.

Incidentally, we could get an automatic $2.1 billion to help fix our roads absolutely free of charge from the federal government if we just agree to take $550 million from Canada, to cover the costs of building a needed new bridge across the Detroit River.

That's because Washington will allow us to use that as matching funds. We don't have to pay the Canadians back until the bridge is up and running years from now, and even then we can do it out of our share of the toll revenues. Oh, but I forgot: Our legislators won't agree to that either. Speaking of which ... 

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