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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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Politics & Prejudices

The lost election

Deafening silence surrounds the GOP fight against Stabenow

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Michigan's quiet senate race: Incumbent Debbie Stabenow

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...versus recumbent Pete Hoekstra.


You may not have realized this, but there is actually an election for the U.S. Senate in Michigan this year.

Well, sort of an election. But really not much of one. The GOP candidate either seems to be sleepwalking, or to have decided that he really doesn't want to be a senator after all.

This is the race between U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat trying to win a third six-year term, and Republican Pete Hoekstra, a former congressman from the west side of the state who used to chair the House Intelligence Committee.

If you've forgotten this was going on, that's understandable. Hoekstra was last seen campaigning in Israel.

Why? Well, when he came back, he told one reporter he felt that getting the latest information on what was happening in the Middle East was more important than campaigning in Michigan. You never know. He could be on to something.

It just might be that hundreds of thousands of unemployed Michiganders are most intensely interested in the next Knesset elections, or how the mess in Syria turns out.

But I kind of doubt it. Meanwhile, Stabenow, who is now chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, locked up the endorsement of the usually Republican Michigan Farm Bureau.

One recent poll showed her up by 53 percent to 37 percent, about the same margin by which she beat the hapless Oakland County Sheriff "Six Gun" Mike Bouchard last time.

When he came back from Israel, Hoekstra sat down with The Detroit News, his best bet for an endorsement. "I think I'm behind," he told them. "It's an uphill battle."

Can't say that guy isn't perceptive. Well, actually you can. This was supposed to be a competitive race. Hoekstra had won high marks as chair of the House Select Committee on Intelligence in the years after Sept. 11.

He finished a distant second in the GOP primary for governor to Rick Snyder last year, but did beat out Attorney General Mike Cox and the by-then shopworn Bouchard.

Yet, from the moment the Senate race began, Hoekstra seemed determined to put his foot in it. First, there was his racist-seeming Super Bowl ad, featuring a pretty Asian girl with an accent straight out of a 1930s Charlie Chan movie.

"Sank you, Debbie Spend-It-Now. You borrow so much money from us your economy get very weak. Ours get very good. We take your jobs," she said, grinning evilly.

Ironically, it turned out that Hoekstra spent about nine times as much to air the ad as it brought in, in terms of contributions, making him non-Senator Pete Spend-it-Now.

Quietly, Michigan soon disappeared from the national Republican Party's lists of seats they hoped to pick up. This summer, Hoekstra further made a fool of himself by running ads claiming Stabenow was the "worst senator ever."

Detroit Free Press columnist Brian Dickerson said, "mostly, I'm embarrassed for the guy." Hoekstra's agony will be over, mercifully, in less than a month. Unless there is a sudden surge of write-in votes from Israel, he is clearly toast.

The agony of the Michigan GOP, however, continues. His defeat will mean Republicans have lost 11 of the last 12 U.S. Senate elections in Michigan. The only exception in the last 40 years was in 1994, when Republicans won every open Senate race in the nation. Hoekstra won't starve; he could perhaps go back to his old job as a furniture executive at Herman Miller.

More likely, he becomes a lobbyist. For nearly four decades, Republicans have sneered at Debbie Stabenow, back to when she first ran for a seat on the Ingham County Commission in 1974. They pick on her non-flashy style and her weight.

Then she beats them, every time.

 

Bottom feeders: In past years, we've had some decent Republican secretaries of state. Candice Miller and Terri Lynn Land were competent and non-ideological enough that I found myself voting for both when they ran for re-election.

However, Ruth Johnson, — the third blond, middle-aged GOP SOS in a row — is something else. She's obsessed with the need to prevent non-citizens from voting, though there is little or no evidence that more than a handful ever have.

Earlier this year, the governor vetoed a law that would have required voters to check a box affirming that they are U.S. citizens when they vote. That didn't matter to Ruthie.

She decided to impose the requirement anyway in the August primary. This caused howls of protest and some principled voters, like the Michigan Campaign Finance Network's Rich Robinson, to be denied a ballot.

Things were confused further when she then issued new instructions, now saying voters didn't have to do that, in the middle of Election Day. Unlike my dog, however, Johnson seems incapable of learned behavior, and announced she was bringing the check box back for the November election.

Not so fast. Last week, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman told her to forget it. After first compelling Johnson to show up in court, Borman told her what she was doing wasn't legal.

"The bill was not enacted because the governor vetoed it," he said, explaining that her move created a lack of equal protection under the law. As for her order, "it's clear that a lot of clerks aren't following it because it wasn't legally enacted." 

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