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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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Cover Story

Made in Michigan

We're smitten with the mitten ... An economic snapshot shows Michigan is finally producing numbers to take pride in.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


MICHIGAN HAS OFTEN been called a “canary in the coal mine.” The state’s once-dominant manufacturing base — its automotive sector — has always been susceptible to the slightest hint of recession. As a result, economic contractions are typically felt here well in advance of other indicators that register on a national scale.

Of course, the gutting of the U.S. manufacturing sector, which began after the rupture of the tech bubble in 2000, and continued throughout the new millennium’s first decade — exacerbated by a real estate bubble that drove the entire Western banking system to the brink of collapse — has made our once-rich state’s economic output comparable to states in the deep South.

Yet, despite Michigan's loss of more than 700,000 manufacturing jobs — and nearly 1 million people — over the course of 10 years, the state is on firmer economic footing now than it has been in a generation. The latest indictor, provided by the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index, shows a near two-point increase — to 50.9 in June 2013 — from 49 a month earlier. (A reading of 50 is the dividing line between expansion and contraction.)

And while Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, and his predecessor, Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, have championed industry diversification, the car is still king — especially in Detroit. And, according to the latest release of information, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

U.S. auto sales accelerated in June to the fastest pace since December 2007, according to a survey of analysts by Bloomberg News. The projected growth in June, which analysts say was led by Nissan Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co., will keep the United States on track for its best annual sales in six years.

“The market is very strong and we seem to be doing well despite what’s going on,” George Magliano, senior economist at IHS Automotive in New York, told Bloomberg News, referring to the volatility in the stock market due to uncertainty over continued Fed involvement. “Is the market going to be immune to the sell-off of the stock market and the rising mortgage rates? I find it hard to stay as strong in the face of these things. We’ll probably back off a little bit and then pick back up.”

Brisk auto sales are a combination of low rates for new-car loans, pent-up demand from Americans replacing the oldest vehicles ever on U.S. roads and the domestic auto manufacturing quality; the Big Three are producing their best cars in a generation.

As well, the latest report from the Commerce Department showed construction spending increased 0.5 percent in May. Michigan is one of only four states that have shown job gains in construction since June 2009 and is currently fourth out of 50 states in terms of construction spending.

The state’s expansion, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, is concentrated in specialty trade construction, but a May report by the Home Builders Association of Michigan indicates that the industry is on pace for a potential 37 percent increase in single-family home construction permits. However, a shortage of skilled laborers may hamper that estimate, according to the report’s authors.

“Right now the worker shortage is really causing things to slow down,” Robert Filka, the association’s CEO said in a recent interview. “And I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Despite a statewide unemployment rate of 8.4 percent in April, still one of the nation’s highest, it seems the economic expansion continues to lift Michigan from its most severe economic crisis since the Depression.

Overall, things look better now than they have in several years, setting the stage for healthy, sustainable growth in the decades to come.

Most notably, growth will no longer be solely dependent on the Big Three. Instead, it will come from both the autos and a new creative class coalescing in and around the state's hub cities, like Detroit and Grand Rapids. Small businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators, creating better mousetraps and driving new ideas, will play as significant a role in helping the state redefine its definition of success.

Meet a handful of these innovators by clicking on the links below; throughout the next several months we plan to keep those introductions coming too.

Michigan Made Features

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

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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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