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  • 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.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to bcallwood@metrotimes.com. Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of buildingdetroit.org, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Sports

Miracles Can Happen

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Paws, the Detroit Tigers mascot, pays a visit to the kids of the Miracle League.

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The city of Southfield boasts one of the only barrier-free baseball diamonds in Metro Detroit.

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Miracle League founder & president, Steve Peck.


When a writer works for an alternative media outlet such as this rag, we have plenty of opportunity to be biting, caustic, satirical and droll; excited from time to time and disgusted in-between. However, every now and again something lands on our desks to which the only appropriate response is sit back, catch a breath and applaud. That, good readers, is the Miracle League of Michigan.

For those unfamiliar with this stellar nonprofit, The Miracle League is a charitable organization that provides children with mental and/or physical challenges an opportunity to play baseball as a team member in an organized league. As described on the MichiganMiracle.org website, “There is something about playing the game of baseball that lights up youngsters’ eyes, but for children facing physical and mental challenges, that opportunity can often be a difficult first step. The Miracle League gives these children the opportunity to get out in the sunshine and enjoy playing the game of baseball in its purest form.”

The people at the Miracle League sent over a DVD of a game; it is something that you have to see. The season begins next month and this writer fully intends to take in a game or two. The mental and physical challenges these young participants face range in severity, but you only have to see the smiles on their faces to know that when these kids take the field, those challenges are all but forgotten.

I know … it all sounds a touch hokey, but it’s true. Baseball, it seems, is the great leveler. Of course, the Miracle League isn’t about winning and losing, standings and stats. It’s about a young man called Dylan who can’t walk but still rounds second base; or Jennifer who has Down Syndrome but a ton of

self-esteem — thanks to the league. Maybe young  Kaliegh can’t hear, but she knows her teammates are cheering.

The Miracle League was founded in 2004 with two teams and 25 kids. Nine years later and there are 300 participants, all of whom would be excluded from Little League due to their disabilities. Thankfully, that is no longer an issue. There’s nothing like seeing these kids sliding in for a homer; or watching a girl, robbed of sight, connecting bat to ball and heading toward first base. Miracles indeed.

Dawn Daniels knows. She is a mother of seven children, four of whom are on the Miracle League roster. “John is 13,” Daniels says. “He helps to volunteer at the Miracle League. Marah-Lynn is 11 and she plays on the team. She has autism and hearing loss. Keegan is 10 and he plays. He has multiple conditions including a congenital brain abnormality. Luke is 8 and he does not have any significant conditions. He helps volunteer. Quintin is 7 and he has a congenital brain abnormality and Asperger’s. Ruth is 5 and she has a congenital brain abnormality and hearing loss. Our youngest child is 2 and his name is Caleb. He is a future Miracle League player because he has a congenital brain abnormality. You have to be 4 to play on the league so not yet, but he will.”

Daniels says that the Miracle League offers her children a chance to be successful at something they would otherwise not have an opportunity to experience. “It gives them a chance to be the hero and to know the feeling of getting a hit, running the bases and scoring a run,” she says. “We all take that for granted as children, most of us even if it was in our own backyard got a chance to do that. For children with special needs, they can’t necessarily do that in a traditional format but Miracle League allows them that. There are no outs and everybody gets a hit, so everybody has a chance to feel that sensation. It’s absolutely amazing. There’s nothing like seeing your child’s face when they get a hit, and that joy that they experience is passed on to the parents, and the volunteers too.”

It’s not just on the field that the league makes a difference, either. Daniels says the confidence her children experience is greatly affected by the experiences of playing on a team and receiving the cheers of the crowd.

“Knowing that they’ve succeeded in something, it doesn’t end when Miracle League ends,” she says. “They have that confidence knowing that they’re successful in something. My daughter was very withdrawn before the league, now people say that she can’t possibly have autism because she’s too social. They get their buddies. People cheer them on, and there’s something about that. We’re expected to cheer them on, but when somebody else does it there’s something magical about that.”

Obviously, this is more than a sports story. The Miracle League is about improving the quality of life of children — something everyone can get behind. They need volunteers, so if you can spare the time and are open to something truly remarkable, visit michiganmiracle.org.

 

Brett Callwood is a staff writer for Metro Times. Send comments to bcallwood@metrotimes.com.

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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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