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    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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Culture Feature

Advice from an Upperclassman

Life is a backpack my incoming freshman friends. Don't let others fill it up for you.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Close your eyes and imagine a backpack. Yes, that one you lugged around for years in high school, digging deep into your shoulders as you added another book because you weren’t sure if there’d be time to stop by your locker between Spanish III and Calc II.

Now, imagine it empty. All the pockets displayed in their vivid barrenness, a state you’d not known your backpack to exist in since its purchase. Appreciate that image, because shortly your backpack will again be filled; only now it’s with expectations and not books.

Expectations that will dig into your shoulders in a way that’s distinct from what you’ve grown accustomed to throughout high school as you cross the threshold into college life; expectations that aren’t yours.

There are a lot of things people will tell you to expect from college. They’ll try to fill that empty backpack with rules, guidelines, “how to’s” and then zip it up before you’ve even had a chance to think about what you might want in the bag.

It’ll come from everywhere too: Your parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, friends and foes. They’ll tell you how to live, what to do, what to be, and so on. It happened to me, to my friends and most likely it’ll happen to you too.

Some of it will be heartfelt and worthwhile, like when my father told me not to be a stranger; a lot of it will seem nonsensical, because, well … a lot of it is.

My grandmother told me — in as serious a tone as I’ve ever heard the woman emit— not to believe everything “they” say. “They” was a reference to professors, whom she thought to be one step below maniacal evildoers, hell-bent on filling my guileless mind with wild conspiracy theories and other general madness.

It was good advice; still is. I would caution all you soon-to-be freshman to consider it. To take it even further, don’t believe anything anyone says. Listen, but don’t take their words as gospel. Remember: No matter how much anyone else believes they know what should go into your backpack, it is still your backpack. You have the choice of what goes into it.

Once that backpack of yours has been filled, bursting with all the things other people tell you, set it back on your bed. Look at it one more time — the seams prepared to split at any moment. Then open and empty it. In other words, politely take in all the advice and then discard.

You don’t want to walk into your first college class with a backpack already digging into your shoulders so don’t burden yourself with expectations. There are many things college will burden you with in the next four years — and you’re just getting started. Then again, who goes to class with an empty backpack? Shouldn’t you at least have a pencil in there? You should.

There were many things people told me before I left the rolling hills of Oakland County for the flatlands of Lansing. None was what I wish I had already packed in my backpack going into college. So, take it from me, a kid who’s been there before and knows a thing or two about what would be helpful.


The first is to not be overly punctual — unless it’s for class, in which case “being on time” almost certainly means you’re 20 minutes early. This will lead to awkward wandering around the area you were supposed to meet up with friends and craning your neck like a turtle toward the door to see if anyone you know is walking in.

Even if no one can tell what you’re doing, inside you will likely feel like a moron. Leave a few minutes later than you normally would, and make sure all your electronics are charged and ready to entertain you if need be. For all you chronic “lates” out there: Stop being such a douche and making your friends feel like morons.

The second is that you will most likely have a doppelganger on campus. Your friends will confuse you for them and vice versa — multiple times. The trick is to dispose of this person or, if you’re peaceful, simply avoid them.

Why? Depending on how close the likeness is, there is a possibility that that is not a doppelganger, but in fact a version of you from a different dimension. If you two were to meet there very well could be a hole torn in the space-time continuum. Don’t be the asshole that tears a hole in the universe.

The third item I wish I’d had in my backpack is all about change. College brings about lots and lots of change, some of which are unsurprising, but others that can be truly unsettling. Understand that you are going to change. People you know are going to change. Your likes and dislikes will change. Your opinions will change.

You will likely be a different person even one month into college. In most cases, it’s a good thing. You will be more mature and truly shocked once you return home and feel light years beyond the friends you left in high school — even though you remain only a few years apart. It comes with the territory. You’ll be on your own and you’ll learn more about who you are as a person than you ever did before.

The final item, and perhaps most important, is that it’s okay to be scared. There are a lot of things that will scare you in college. You’ll have a panic attack because you have to pitch a story idea the next day and you’re just not sure it’s good enough.

You’ll have multiple panic attacks. You’ll question what you’re doing with your studies, if you’re headed in the right direction, if you even know what you want to do with your life. Unless you’re Captain Awesome and have been sure you want to be a doctor since your parents gave you a plastic stethoscope, chances are you will have doubts and you will be scared.

It’s okay.

Take a breath.

You’ll be fine.

Just don’t forget your backpack.

And always wear sunscreen.

(That last one is courtesy of a particular author — do you know who?)

Eric Walters was an editorial intern at the Metro Times this past summer. This was his final assignment. Send comments to

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We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
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