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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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News Feature

ADHD Meds: The Good Grade Pill

ADHD medications won’t make you into a genius and could hurt you.

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Besides alcohol and marijuana, a category of pharmaceuticals garnering considerable attention among college students on campuses nationwide is a class of drugs known as psychostimulants.

Drugs like Adderall and Ritalin, medications used to treat attention deficit hyper-activity disorder, a condition marked by an inability to pay attention, have become attractive to a wide swath of the student population. Psychostimulants are very different than other drugs abused by college students as users often don’t seek them out for a high. Adderall, in particular, is especially attractive because students think of it as an effective, cheap study aid.

“[ADHD medication] heightens your ability to pay attention to things which normally bore a person and allows you to focus for a longer amount of time,” says Adam Plotnik, a clinical psychologist based in Farmington Hills. “For someone who has ADHD or ADD, it really allows them to function like people who don’t have ADHD or ADD.”

In college, we hear many success stories with these drugs. But one question many non-ADHD students are asking is: Will this medication work for me? The answer is that it will, but with some side effects.

“I think there’s a myth out there that if you are a hyperactive or ADHD kid, Ritalin or Ritalin-like medications are going to work on you differently than they will on the normal population,” psychiatrist Harold Koplewicz said in an interview with the Internet forum Big Think. “For all of us, whenever we would take one of these medicines… you will be more focused, you will be more attentive, you also might be a little more uptight or hypervigilant.”

It might seem like Koplewicz implicitly endorses illicit drug use, but, like the other psychiatrists and psychologists, his role is to explain, not to justify. Koplewicz adds, “If you don’t have ADHD and you’re going to take [Ritalin], [or] any psychostimulant, any type of drug like this is going to increase your heartrate, it may elevate your blood pressure, it will decrease your appetite. Those things are side effects that are unnecessary if your dopamine and norepinephrine levels are normal.”

A good doctor will do a cost-benefit analysis weighing adverse effects against desired ones for patients, and will then prescribe them a calculated dosage. It follows then that there is significant danger for illicit users of ADHD medication. Without knowing their dosage, illicit users have a greater risk for overdose, and thus a greater chance of experiencing adverse side effects.

Yet, non-ADHD students continue to use and abuse these pharmaceuticals. John Taylor, a psychologist and coordinator of psychological testing and consultation services at Michigan State University’s Counseling Center, reported that MSU students were overwhelming campus medical doctors with requests for ADHD evaluations — most of which were non-ADHD drug seekers, Taylor suspected. At the doctors’ request, MSU opened a separate assessment center, where Taylor currently works.

Taylor considered the huge number of requests for ADHD evaluations, as well as the larger phenomenon of non-ADHD students seeking ADHD medication, and began to question their motivation.

“ADHD medications have become a silver bullet,” Taylor says of the sudents’ motivation for seeking psychostimulants. “Students are looking for something that will boost their mental powers, that will give them a competitive edge. Part of it is where society is at right now. It’s very competitive.”

Although he aims to explain the use rather than justify it, he says he sympathizes with modern college students’ tough conditions. “College students are really under the gun these days,” he says, citing national economic problems that will particularly affect college-age students, such as student loans and associated debts.

And college students agree. The University of Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily, published an article headlined “Study Strong: how students on campus misuse stimulants,” which said today’s college students live in an “increasingly competitive college environment, where [they] are being pushed to achieve socially, academically and professionally.”

But students may also be giving psychostimulants too much credit. Given the currency of stories about students taking ADHD drugs and then studying for an organic chemistry exam for entire days, or writing an A-plus paper in only three hours, it’s important to  debunk a few misconceptions about what ADHD medication does.

Koplewicz points out that when people with ADHD use these drugs, “They are able to do what they’re capable of doing. It doesn’t increase your IQ points, it doesn’t make you smarter, it lets you get to the IQ points that you do have.”

But, as with any new phenomenon, the questions multiply. Is the use of ADHD similar to baseball players taking steroids? Is taking a performance-enhancing drug cheating? For now, these are personal questions. All these psychiatrists and psychologists can do is give recommendations. It is we who must ask ourselves: When is “good” good enough?

Zak Witus is entering his sophomore year at the University of Michigan and was an editorial intern at Metro Times this summer. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.

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