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  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit comes weeks after a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month found a growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The investigation found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup

    The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup is more than just a celebration — although with the recent shift in attitudes toward marijuana legalization, there certainly is much to celebrate.  HT‘s Danny Danko described it as “just like any other harvest festival or a county fair where people bring their best produce, their best pigs and horses and cows, and they compete with each other for bragging rights, basically.” Here are a list of winners from this year’s Cannabis Cup, who did indeed walk home with some well-deserved bragging rights — if anyone knows their marijuana it’s High Times: Indica 1ST - Oasis Medical Seeds - Paris OG 2ND - Herbal Solutions - Alien Dawg F2 3RD - Herban Legendz, LLC - Grape OX Sativa 1ST - Arborside Compassion - CATFISH 2ND - Organibliss - Ghost Train Haze #1 3RD - We Grow Education and Collective Centers - MelonGum Hybrid 1ST - Herbal Solutions - Gorilla Glue 2ND - Pure West Compassion Club - Death Star 3RD - Kushman Veganics for Buds & Roses - Veganic Candyland Concentrate 1ST - Mr. B’s Extracts - Raskal’s Lemon 2ND - 710 Savant - Kosher Kush Dewaxed 3RD - Oasis Medical / Vader Extracts / Dab Vader - Candy Jack Shatter Non-Solvent Hash 1ST - NLG - Jedi Kush Ice Wax 2ND - Arborside Compassion - HeadCandy Kush Hash 3RD - New World Seeds Resource […]

    The post Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State Mandated ProLife Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that maybe inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio

    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Candy land

An old-fashioned shop tries to evoke a simpler time

Photo: , License: N/A

Pastor Betty Jordan at the appropriately named Miracle Soda Shoppe.

There aren't many bright colors left in this part of town. There's the green in the grassy fields along the main road. The gray of the streets. And the shades of brown on the wood houses whose paint has weathered away.

But in the midst of it all is this little place that beams with a rainbow's worth of sugary hues.

The Miracle Soda Shoppe, on Van Dyke near Nevada on the east side, stands out because it's so different from everything around it. It's quaint and old-fashioned and wholesome, surrounded by a rough, declining neighborhood.

Betty Jordan's store strives to be a classic soda shop — except for not having an actual soda fountain. But the essence of soda shops was always more than pop and ice cream. They conjure a comparatively innocent, simpler time. And Jordan believed this east side neighborhood, where she lived for decades, could use a dose of innocence.

This place is as much a functioning candy store as it is a tribute to a lost way of life. Step inside the door and walk to the old-fashioned candy counter, and hop onto one of the round stools. Take in the thousands of wrapped little treats in yellows and reds and greens, and the penny candies coated with crystals of sugar, and the sour pickles in a jar. Order a hot dog or a soft pretzel, or a slice of sweet potato pie made using an old Arkansas recipe. Admire the antique wall ads for Cracker Jack and Coca-Cola and Hershey's, and the kitsch that evokes another world.

Some things here aren't so nostalgic, though, like the magazine article explaining the history of Amos 'n' Andy taped to the wall, like the large photo of sharecroppers picking cotton in the Deep South way back when. And at the front of the store stand two life-size cardboard cutouts of Barack and Michelle Obama, presiding over this display of history, a touchstone to the present showing how far things have come since portrayals like Amos 'n' Andy. 

The iron bars on the door to the backroom and the bulletproof glass dividing the front counter serve as a reminder of other ways things have changed too.

The artifacts aren't just for the adults who remember them. They're also for the children who have no sense of their meaning and nowhere else to hang out in this neighborhood of liquor stores and overgrown parks. When Jordan has children in the shop, waiting for candy, she figures it's a chance to share with them something other than what life out here exposes them to. 

"I try to educate them on things they never heard of or ever dreamed of," she says.

Jordan doesn't even like candy. "I just wanted to sell it," the 63-year-old says. "I liked picking it out and looking at it and seeing what it could do. That's just me. That's what I liked."

She grew up in Arkansas, moved to Michigan, got married, and opened a successful tire business with her husband. But years there took a toll. She saw men get hurt, become crippled, even watched a man die on the job once. 

"The guy had a Cadillac. His name was Eddie Lee," she says. "Eddie Lee jacked the car up but he didn't lock the jack. And the guy was just carrying on a casual conversation with another man, and he put his foot on the jack and the car fell down on Eddie Lee and killed him right there. My husband picked that whole car up and dragged that boy from up under there, but he was dead."

Add to that the sight of workers getting their fingers sliced off by wayward tire rims, and she'd had enough.

"After seeing all that and all that noise I went back, I said, 'I'm going to go into candy.' I started preparing for this a long time ago."

She left the tire shop, became pastor of a little church, and found that the space she'd bought for her ministry was better suited for her lifelong dream of an old-fashioned store like the ones she saw as a little girl. She opened in 1999, closed after a fire, and reopened seven years ago.

No matter how genteel her shop's theme is, in a neighborhood like this there's little doubt about what kind of customers she's going to draw.

"I'm going to be honest. I made my money off of drug dealers," she admits. "And they love sweets. Drug dealers love sweets. I'm not too familiar why. It's just like a child. They love sweets, they love candy and stuff like that."

She doesn't open the shop until afternoon because few people in the area are out of bed before that, she says. "These people in this neighborhood, they get up maybe 12 or 1 o'clock. They're not early people. A lot of them don't work." 

That doesn't bother her. What does is that children out here grow up immersed in this life. 

One kid, whose father was a drug dealer, saw Jordan's daughter balancing a checkbook one day. He asked what she was doing. She explained she was depositing paychecks and balancing her checkbook. "Just like your daddy," she told him. The boy replied that his dad didn't work. That prompted Jordan to have a talk with the father. "I told him, 'You should tell your son you work. Even though you're selling drugs, you should tell him you work.'"

That kid already knew what was up, though. The boy's name was Henry, named after his dad, who went by the street name Hank, the same name the dad had been trying to bestow on the son. So when Jordan called the child Hank, he recoiled. "Pastor, I don't want to be called that." He didn't want to be identified with his father. 

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