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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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Higher Ground

Straight Talk

Wrapping up MT's Higher Ground event at Eastern Market

The Metro Times "Higher Ground: A Home Grown Event" inside Eastern Market's Shed 3 Friday evening seemed to go off well; the Feds didn't bust in and carry everyone off to jail. For the two hours I was there, it seemed a festive, though not over-the-top, event.

Mostly I wanted to hear what the distinguished panelists had to say, but, since I got there about an hour before their discussion, I strolled around to check out the crowd and the vendors. Early on, it seemed the average age of the attendees was old enough that they indeed needed their medication. Not that the youth corps wasn't represented, but the generation to discover marijuana en masse — baby boomers — was in the majority. There were about 200 people there at any one time, although there were folks constantly coming and going, so I have no sense of the total attendance. I was headed home just as the Ben Daniels Band members began cranking up their Marshall amps, so maybe there was a whole different thing happening later on.

Fire is always a pretty eye-catching phenomenon, and there was a guy making glass pipes with the aid of a torch right in the middle of it all. There was more eye candy: Three young women dressed in fishnet stockings and very tight and short nurse outfits with green crosses stitched onto them wandered through the crowd handing out cards for a compassion club. One of them seemed to be constantly pulling the hem of her skirt down to keep certain parts under cover.

Many of the vendor tables were set up with various pieces of what I considered equipment for growing marijuana — some of it pretty expensive. Most of the rest of them had various pipes and vaporizers (for inhaling medicine without the debris of smoking) for sale. By and large it seemed an industry show for medical marijuana equipment.

I've heard proselytizers for the hemp (a marijuana relative that doesn't get you high) industry talking about all kinds of uses for the plant, from textiles and car parts to edible products and skin lotions. But I was surprised to find one vendor selling Hi T, an iced tea beverage that uses hemp in its brewing process. The sample I had didn't taste bad. Apparently it's available in some convenience stores around town. Although at $2 for a 12-ounce can I don't think I'll be drinking a lot of it. At least that's what they were charging there.

Shed 3 is a big, open space made for farmers selling produce. The problem is it was pretty unforgiving to the PA system used for the panel discussion. Even though it was held away from the vendors, the sounds of people talking reverberated throughout the place, making it hard to hear the discussion moderated by Metro Times News Editor Curt Guyette. I sat up front and listened hard and found it pretty informative. Here are some of the more interesting points made by each panelist.

Dan Solano, a retired Detroit police officer and founding member of the national group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition: Solano seemed the most pugnacious about opposing police coming into your home, saying, "You don't have to give up your rights" just because you're a medical marijuana patient. OK, but when the SWAT team is at your door with a battering ram, it's hard to impress them with talk about unlawful search and seizure. He also pointed out the hypocrisy of how municipal governments have approached medical marijuana during his years of activism. He said that, in the past, when proponents passed a local ordinance friendly to MM, opponents would argue that local law does not trump state law. Now that the state sanctions MM, opponents are using local ordinances to oppose it.

Shelli Weisberg, legislative director for the Michigan ACLU: Weisberg has been spending a lot of time in Lansing talking to legislators. She said that local ordinances can be a serious threat to MM patients, citing a "white paper" distributed by the Michigan Municipal League designed to give local governments strategies to undermine the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA). One such strategy is to tie up potential growers with prohibitive ordinances about electrical and plumbing systems and inspections for indoor grow operations. She also reported on the case of 30-year-old Joseph Casias, a registered medical marijuana patient who has cancer. He was fired from his job at a Battle Creek Wal-Mart last year after testing positive for marijuana. The ACLU is representing him in a wrongful firing suit. Last week, his lawyers argued against a motion by Wal-Mart to have the case tried in federal court rather than in state court in Battle Creek. Obviously a Michigan court, where medical marijuana is legal, would treat the case differently than federal court.

Charmie Gholson, editor of the Midwest Cultivator, a Ypsilanti-based quarterly publication focused on medical marijuana issues: Gholson pointed out the disparities in how different municipalities are dealing with the MMMA, particularly the differences between prohibitionist Oakland County and more accommodating places, such as Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. "This is about geography," she said. She also talked about creating an organization called Mothers Against the Drug War for women to give testimony about how they and their family members' lives were affected by drug arrests. She pointed out that the failed drug war has cost us nearly a trillion dollars for pretty lame results.

Maurice "Moe" Cheetham, founder and director of the Midtown Detroit Cannabis Compassion Club: Cheetham, a former board member of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, focused on people issues, whether regarding caregivers, patients, police or community relations. He talked about how the state hasn't really addressed how patients who can't grow marijuana can get medication. "Where can they go?" he asked, while pointing out that narcotics such as Vicodin and Oxycontin can be picked up at drug stores everywhere. He also criticized some compassion clubs for focusing so much on costly growing equipment. "Is it about patients or is it about business?" he asked, and called on the medical marijuana community to police itself.

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