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  • Jumpin Jumpin: Police, fire fighters, and EMS workers to be honored at Sky Zone

    When we think of honoring the brave men and women who protect and serve the metro Detroit area, we think of trampolines.  We think they should jump on trampolines. And by trampolines, we mean an all-walled trampoline field where they can land in a pit of 10,000 foam cubes. They have to blow off steam some how. Sky Zone, the inventors of such a place, are hosting a special day at their Canton and Shelby Township locations that will be all about police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, and their families. On Tuesday, August 5 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. there will be free jumping for these folks. All metro Detroit police, firefighters, EMS workers and their families are invited to come, though an employee ID or professional organization ID will be required for admittance to 60 free minutes at the indoor park. The hour of free jumping comes with free pizza from Jet’s as well. This is the first event of its kind in Michigan.  Sky Zone Canton is located at 42550 Executive Drive Sky Zone Shelby Township is located at 50810 Sabrina Drive. Check skyzone.com for more information. 

    The post Jumpin Jumpin: Police, fire fighters, and EMS workers to be honored at Sky Zone appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times is getting a new website today

    Your favorite local alternative weekly is getting a digital facelift at around 4 p.m. today, and we need your help. If you, dear reader, spot anything amiss or notice that any of our regular features are not working properly, do give us a shout in the comment section below or on social media. If, on the other hand, you find that you positively adore our new design (which we surely hope you do!), we’d certainly enjoy hearing about that as well. Let the countdown to launch begin!

    The post Metro Times is getting a new website today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well

    By LeeAnn Brown Some people say that hip-hop is dead. Local ban Fderal Ground is proving that is not the case. The seven-member band, consisting of three lead vocalists, a DJ, bass, drums and guitar, plays what they call “living hip-hop.” Their music, peppered with multiple styles, covers all aspects of life from growing up in the D to playing with fire despite knowing you will likely get burned. Their undeniable chemistry and raw lyrics compose a music that is living, breathing, and connecting to their listeners. It has been nearly 11 years since Vinny Mendez and Michael Powers conjured up the basement idea that has flowered into the Detroit funk-hop band Feral Ground. Throughout high school the two wrote and rapped consistently, playing shows here and there. In those years they matched their rap stanzas with the animated, dynamic voice of Ginger Nastase and saw an instant connection. The now trio backed their lyrics with DJ Aldo’s beats on and off for years, making him a permanent member within the last year, along with Andy DaFunk (bass), Joseph Waldecker (drums), and newest member, Craig Ericson (guitar). We sat down with Feral Ground and their manager, Miguel Mira, in their […]

    The post Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law

    Much has been made about Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s decision this week to transfer authority of the city’s water department to Mayor Mike Duggan. In what is the most interesting read on the situation, Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, pens an analysis on Michigan’s novel emergency manager law on the New York Times Opinionator blog. Stanley deconstructs Michigan’s grand experiment in governance by addressing two questions: Has the EM law resulted in policy that maximally serves the public good? And, is the law consistent with basic principles of democracy? Stanley ties in examples of Plato, James Madison’s Federalist Papers, and Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt. A short excerpt: Plato was a harsh critic of democracy, a position that derived from the fact that his chief value for a society was social efficiency. In Plato’s view, most people are not capable of employing their autonomy to make the right choices, that is, choices that maximize overall efficiency. Michigan is following Plato’s recommendation to handle the problems raised by elections. Though there are many different senses of “liberty” and “autonomy,” none mean the same thing as “efficiency.” Singapore is a state that values efficiency above all. But by no stretch of […]

    The post Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week

    Walking with Dinosaurs, a magnificent stage show that features life-sized animatronic creatures from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, will be in town next week. But to preview the show’s run at the Palace, a baby T-Rex will be making an appearance at four area malls to the delight and wonderment of shoppers. Baby T-Rex, as the creature is being affectionately referred to, is seven-feet-tall and 14-feet-long. He’ll only be at each mall for about 15 minutes, so while there will be photo opportunities, they’ll be short. The dino will be at Fairlane Town Center Center Court at 18900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit from 2-2:15 p.m. today, July 30; The Mall at Partridge Creek at 17420 Hall Rd. in Clinton Township from 5-5:15 p.m. today, July 30; Twelve Oaks Mall at the Lord & Taylor Court at 27500 Novi Rd., Novi tomorrow, Thursday July 31 from 1:30-1:45 p.m.; and Great Lakes Crossing Food Court at 4000 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills from 5-5:15 p.m., tomorrow Thursday, July 31.  

    The post Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations

    Interested in reading about what Detroit accomplishes on a week-to-week basis that’s produced by the city itself? Great. You can do that now, here, at the Detroit Dashboard. Every Thursday morning, the city will publish an update to the dashboard because Mayor Mike Duggan loves metrics, even if the data might be hard to come by. According to Duggan’s office, the dashboard will provide data on how many LED street lights were installed, how many vacant lots were mowed, how much blight was removed, and more. This week, the city says it has sold 13 site lots through BuildingDetroit.com, removed 570 tons of illegal dumping, and filed 57 lawsuits against abandoned property owners.  

    The post Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations 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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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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