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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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Stir It Up

Waiting for Terry Jones

Reporting from Dearborn, our columnist has another run-in with Mulenga Harangua

It was easy to find the Islamic Center of America when I turned off the Southfield Freeway service drive onto Ford Road at about 4:30 p.m. last Friday. Twenty or more police cars with lights flashing served as my GPS in the gray, rainy afternoon. Police cars blocked access to the area and officers directed traffic onto the side streets.

I pulled into the parking lot of the Los Amigos restaurant and walked past the St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church to get to the mosque. The ICA is flanked by three Christian churches. I don't know about the spiritual energy around there, but it is apparently not exclusive.

I was there to see what Terry Jones, the Quran-burning Florida minister, would do in his planned protest in front of the Islamic Center. Right before I got out of the car, I heard a radio report that he was in court and a jury was deliberating on whether he would be allowed to carry out his mission. Jones had said that he would come, permit or not, so I joined the gathering of police and news reporters shivering in the cold near the front of the mosque. There were a handful of onlookers out on the berm off Ford Road.

A guy from the mosque asked for my press credential. I had none. He told me I either had to go inside or stand with the group out near Ford Road. I went inside where it was warmer and drier. On entering the building I was given a Quran and read a few lines as I walked the hallway past small groups of people mostly chatting quietly near the windows.

I began questioning folks, but the first few I approached didn't want to talk so I stopped. I overheard one man say, "If he is a pastor and he's coming in peace, why does he bring his gun?"

Indeed, Jones' .40-caliber handgun went off in his car the evening before, after leaving the FOX 2 television studios. He wouldn't be the first person to come to Detroit with his gun loaded and ready to go. On the other hand, I felt that if Gandhi came to town, he would not be armed. But then the Rev. Jones is no Gandhi.

The crowd had surged to some 40 or 50 people outside, so I headed back into the rain. As I approached the group, a guy in an oversized poncho and hood approached me. I jumped when he grabbed my arm.

"Relax, don't be getting paranoid on me," said Mulenga Harangua, my conspiracy theory-loving friend.

"Mulenga, what are you doing here?"

"I want to hear what Jones has to say. I'm not for the guy or against him. I don't want him to burn a Quran, but if he does, I want to see that."

"Even if he's trying to incite a riot?"

Mulenga looked dismissively at the soggy crowd. "That crazy bunch of rioters there? Let's go talk to them."

He grabbed my arm again and dragged me over to a guy carrying a sign that read: "I will debate you anytime, anywhere." Mulenga shoved my hand with the tape recorder in the guy's face.

"Sir, why do you want to debate Terry Jones?" I asked.

"I believe that our community has not given him clear answers. ... " said Haithan Kayed of Dearborn. "Jones is anti-sharia in America. We, as Muslims, don't want sharia in America. We want it in our homelands. God is a part of our legislative process. In this country there is a lot of fear among Muslims, and there are certain things that they shy away from saying. Islam is a complete way of life and ... an alternative to capitalism. That is one of the things they shy away from saying because it's one of these things that could label them radical or extremist. They are ill-equipped in presenting it in a clear and precise manner."

A guy walking past on the road yelled something like "Muslim radicals" at the crowd, which surged toward him. Police quickly escorted him away while a big guy from the crowd exhorted his compatriots. "Everybody say nothing. Let them say what they want to say. They want us to get arrested. Nobody touch anybody. Words don't hurt."

Those were certainly words of wisdom — especially if Jones actually showed up at the scene. I looked around. Mulenga was approaching an elderly white-haired couple. The man had a Bible tucked under his arm. I ran over to them.

"Why are you here, sir?" I asked.

"I want to support Terry Jones," said Rev. Lanny Raper.

"What about him do you support?"

"I want to support the protest and what he is supporting as far as freedom in America and the right to be able to protest and stand up for what you believe in."

"And what is he protesting?"

"Well, he is protesting the right, his freedom, the Fifth Amendment."

"He's protesting his freedom?"

"I'm supporting it. I think if they have the right to believe what they do. Basically I believe that America was founded as a Christian nation. One nation, under God, indivisible, and I still believe it. My dad he fought in World War II and my brother was in the Vietnam War. So I very much believe that America is a Christian nation."

"How does fighting in World War II and in the Vietnam War mean that America is a Christian nation?"

The woman with him spoke up. "It's not the war. It's the reality of the freedoms that we have."

About 7:30 p.m. word came that Jones was being held. Police told the crowd, which had peaked at about 100 people, to leave. Mulenga asked me for a ride home. As we walked back to my car we mulled over the issues.

"I wish he had come," said Mulenga. "I really wanted to know what he was talking about."

"He seemed to want to protest sharia in Dearborn."

"But Jones doesn't live in Dearborn. Aren't these conservative guys always talking about the supremacy of local law? Why should he be concerned about local law in Dearborn when he is from Florida? Why is he trying to tell us what to do?"

"I'm not sure," I said. "Maybe he wants to keep the rest of us from drifting into sharia. You start with halal meat and next thing all the women have to wear burqas."

"Hey, you're starting to sound like me. But that didn't happen with the Catholics."


"Fish on Friday. There are all kind of places that serve fish on Friday because of the Catholics. And my niece goes to West Bloomfield High School. They get Jewish holidays off, and the cafeteria serves matzo pizza. I don't hear anybody protesting against that. Or thinking it leads to some kind of takeover."

"Well you've got a point there. Let me buy you dinner. I used their parking lot; I should spend a little money. I hear this place has great chile rellenos."

"Oh, man, don't get me started about the Mexicans and their food."

I shot him a questioning look.

"Well they already took over California and Texas."

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