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  • 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.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Stir It Up

Undercover brothers

"It’s very humbling to have someone donate a kidney to you."

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Carter (l) and Bowman. Bowman knew "people routinely die when on that transplant list."

Reggie Carter is tall, and his lanky body cuts a commanding figure walking down the street. He was something of a ladies' man back in the day, and the black eye patch he wore back then gave him a swashbuckling air. That patch was no tool of seduction. Carter lost his right eye at 4 years old after a stick propelled from a piece of inner tube rubber destroyed it. Now, at 61 years, he has a prosthetic eye and usually wears sunglasses, though he can still turn the ladies' heads. 

When I ran into him on Nine Mile Road in Ferndale a few months ago, he was wearing a white surgical mask. I knew Carter was on kidney dialysis, spending some four hours a day, three days a week, on the time-consuming but life-saving process that cleans patients' blood. When I saw the mask I wondered if he'd had some kind of downturn, although to tell the truth he seemed to have gained weight and lost that gaunt look. 

Carter informed me that he'd recently had a kidney transplant and had to wear the mask to keep germs out of his recovering body. I was surprised to hear the kidney donor was mutual friend Art Bowman Jr., a juvenile and family practice attorney who is the son of former Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Arthur Bowman. We all met in the 1970s while hanging out around Wayne State University with a political, activist-minded crowd. As happens with most crowds over time, relationships change and folks drift away. But Carter and Bowman stayed close.

"I always knew we were the same kind of brother," laughs the jovial Bowman. "Reggie and I are both quirky people. I think we each appreciate the unique qualities of the other's personality."

Whatever may have made them alike is not apparent to others. Bowman, 57, has been married 31 years and has two grown children. He's an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of guy. On Sundays you find him at Greater Quinn AME Church. "I don't want to hang out with the boys," he says.

Carter seems a confirmed bachelor. He's a former dean of students at Loyola High School in Detroit, but he's also promoted jazz shows around town and is often seen walking the streets around Wayne State and the New Center area, where he resides. 

Carter is diabetic and has hypertension. For years he ran five miles a day four or five days a week to stave off the effects of those diseases, but eschewed taking medication for his blood pressure. He's run a few Detroit Free Press marathons. When his work obligations became time-consuming, Carter stopped his running and walking regimen.

"I paid the price," he says. "I didn't compensate" by taking medication. 

His health took a quick nosedive and he ended up on dialysis for more than three years. His name was on the transplant list, but most people who are on the list wait five or six years before a matching kidney becomes available from a cadaver. The only way to beat the list is to find a live donor. Bowman knew this and, unbeknownst to his wife Phyllis, decided to donate a kidney to his friend. When Bowman first approached him with the offer in fall 2010, Carter declined. 

"I wasn't asking for a kidney," he says. "I was trying to make the best of the situation. I didn't feel comfortable asking."

After Bowman came back with the idea a few times, Carter relented and Bowman started a series of tests to see if he could be a donor.

"I knew that people routinely die when on that transplant list," says Bowman. "I told my friend we don't need no stinking list."

Because matches for transplants are difficult to come by, Bowman and Carter expected that they would go through the "match pair" process. In match pair's simplest terms, Bowman would donate a kidney to a third party that he matched, and that third party would help provide a donor who matched Carter. Bowman started into the testing phase, and in December found out that he and Carter were indeed the same kind of brother: They were a direct match. Carter could directly receive Bowman's kidney. 

"The chance of a direct match was less than one in 10," says Bowman. "The pre-surgery testing is very involved, very impressive. They desperately want make sure that my health is not compromised. They did an excellent job at Henry Ford Health System."

Dr. Jason Denny, the Henry Ford surgeon who removed Bowman's kidney, says, "Our first obligation is to Bowman, to make sure his health is not compromised. ... People are a little bit scared when it comes to donation. You can live a perfectly normal life with one kidney. That's borne out by the data."

Once the testing indicated a match, there was one more hurdle to leap: Bowman's family.

"Phyllis was against it," says Bowman. "The thing that pissed her off the most was I didn't even bother to tell her about it until February or so when I'd been taking tests since October.  My son was mildly against it; my daughter was close to neutral. Nobody was in favor."

But Art was adamant that he wanted to do it. A meeting with Denny and a hospital psychologist brought the family around, and the transplant was performed April 8. Everything went well and Bowman went home after three days. Carter was preparing to go home a day later when he got a call that his mother, who lived in California, had passed away. His only sibling, a brother, died a few years ago, so Carter found himself making arrangements for his mother as he recovered from surgery. The first six months after a transplant are critical because of the possibility of rejection as doctors adjust medication. Recipients must control their environments as much as possible, so travel was out of the question.

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