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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 quality of mercy

Former board members say Michigan Humane Society kills too many animals

Does the Michigan Humane Society kill far too many animals? That's what two former board members claim. They set off a firestorm of controversy this month by resigning over this.

Indeed, the figures at first glance are horrifying. Last year, the society's three shelters in Detroit, Rochester Hills and Westland took in something like 29,000 animals, mostly dogs and cats, puppies and kittens. More than half showed up in Detroit.

And the vast majority of all the creatures the society took in were destroyed. Seven out of every 10 were given a lethal injection.

Those who operate no-kill shelters called that "outrageous" and "barbaric." Michigan Humane Society officials say they have no choice. "None of us here wants to euthanize any animals, but, unfortunately, it's sometimes necessary," the society's chief veterinarian, Dr. Robert Fisher, told a reporter.

Now I know that some people will say, why care about this? The state is falling apart, the city is full of homeless people, and there are all sorts of urgent problems at all levels of government. Why waste time and space on mere animals?

Well, for one thing, because they are living and feeling beings who totally depend on us and whose existence is largely due to us. And, as Gandhi once noted, you tell a lot about a society by how it treats its animals.

So what's the truth here?

Frankly, so far as I can tell, the Humane Society is, sadly, doing the right thing. Anybody who thinks an open-admission animal shelter could, or should, avoid "putting animals to sleep" is ignorant, an idiot or both. I know something about this.

I have had dogs and other pets all my adult life.

They have been as dear to me as children might have been. I have had to be at the euthanasia table to say good-bye to seven old and sick collies, every one of whom I loved and love still.

Not pleasant, but it was necessary. Yet when I first heard of this controversy, I didn't automatically assume the Michigan Humane Society was correct. I have had legitimate concerns over the competence of the society's upper management over the years.

So I went last week to visit the toughest and grimmest of their three animal shelters; the one in Detroit, right off southbound I-75 at Clay. The society, which desperately needs a new building, does the best it can with a 19th century building which once was a machine shop where pistons were made, and where animals are saved.

I told Jennifer Rowell, a North Carolina native in her 30s who has run the place for the last eight years, that I wanted to see everything — and I wanted her to explain why so many of the animals have to die.

She began by showing me photographs of some of the animals they couldn't save, victims of accidents, unspeakable cruelty and neglect. You don't want to see those pictures. Ever. Though perhaps you should be made to see the dog left impaled on a fence.

None of those animals could have been saved. The Humane Society, and its famous animal cops, responds to any emergency and turns no animal away, no matter what its shape or how full they are.

Stop by and they'll show you rooms full of puppies and kittens and healthy, friendly adult dogs and cats, all of whom will find homes.

I saw them, but I also saw the rest of the facility. There was the dog that someone brought in with a giant tumor that had burst through her body. They were keeping her for a few days, as their rules require, heavily medicated for pain, just in case an owner shows up.

They showed me puppies and kittens that had been abandoned and were too young or sick to eat. I saw adult dogs that had never known a human's warm touch, that arrived too late to be socialized.

And then I saw Lady, a black and white pit bull mix that was in the most terrible condition you can imagine. She had been kept in a basement without food; there was nothing but skin and bones and a collar embedded in her flesh that had to be surgically removed.

Lady couldn't even walk when the animal cops found her a week ago. They didn't think she had a chance. But, incredibly, she might survive, and even more incredibly, she was enormously sweet.

While she licked my hands and weakly wagged her tail, I enthusiastically wanted to kill the people who had done this to her. Rowell lost her own chum, an ancient pug, a few months ago. She hates putting any animal to sleep. But for many, there is no better alternative.

Our unwanted animals won't be saved by people posturing in the media, but by people who are better educated, have more money, take care of their pets and who stop letting them breed.

Jack Kevorkian at his best helped end needless suffering. The Michigan Humane Society does that too, when there is no alternative. They also provide pet food and reduced cost medical care to people who intensely love their animals but simply have no money.

And they do it all without a penny of government help. If you have any money to send Jennifer Rowell, it would be well spent.


Wiener dog tales:
Nobody doubts that U.S. Rep. Anthony Wiener is a pathetic mess. When a fairly powerful congressman feels the need to send cell phone pictures of his schwanz to women he's never met, you don't have to be a psychiatrist to know his bizarre needs are out of the realm of normal, whatever that may be.

Yet there is a smug, hypocritical sanctimoniousness about all this that is beyond annoying. Virtually everyone has done something sexually that they are ashamed of, or at the very least don't want everyone to know. Supposedly, we are a liberated, taboo-free society.

Yet every time someone gets caught with their trousers down, everybody from the media to the politicians who haven't been caught yet becomes all pompously moral. Mitt Romney, who seems to be made out of the same plastic they use for Ken dolls, was there with his standard-issue blond Mormon wife on a CNN interview show.

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