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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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Divine inspiration

How one woman's visions transformed a corner of the city

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Bringing the iconic stories of the Bible to a forsaken building on the east side of Detroit.

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Kathina Carey, with sign painter Leon Goodin in the background, stands by the apartment building that she made into her canvas.

God speaks to her. She goes to sleep at night and by morning he tells her what he wants her to do. He told her to transform that empty apartment building across the street. He told her to clear the field where that little girl got raped. And he told her to take all those homeless people and prostitutes into her own home. 

"I speak to you just like he speaks to me," says Kathina Carey. "If you truly believe and trust in God, he's going to talk to you. It'll be just like somebody sitting beside you."

The 50-year-old lives on Goethe at McClellan on the city's east side in a crumbling area of waist-high fields and long-empty houses. This is a very old neighborhood, and her roots here run deep. Her great-great-grandmother lived just houses from where Carey does now, back when nearby Mack was a dirt road and horses trotted past their street. Her great-grandmother lived on the block too, as did her grandmother, and her mother after that. It's been Carey's neighborhood all her life, and she made it her duty to care for those in it.

"The prostitutes didn't have nowhere to stay or eat or none of that, so I just started asking God what to do, so they just started coming to my house one by one, needing clothes or showers," Carey says. 

But her guests have taken over her home. Strangers come and go at will and she lets them, despite the fact that they sometimes rob her blind or get in booze-fueled fights on her property, despite the fact that she shares the home with two 11-year-old sons and a 14-year-old one, and until recently a husband who became so overwhelmed by the invasion that he moved out, back to his parents' house.

"He don't want to deal with the people off the street," she says. "He thinks I'm crazy. My children are so upset because they don't have the same kind of love that I have for Jesus and people, and I've opened my house to people to the point where just strangers come now, and they really get upset sometimes because most of them be drug users and prostitutes and homeless people."

As she speaks, they swarm in the street around her. Several are seated under the shade of a tree in an empty field, drinking from brown bags. Young men loiter on the street corner. Neighbors wander over to say hi and hang out in her yard, because they know they always can.

Because Kat, as they call her, will never say no to anyone. If someone wants money, she gives it to them. If they're hungry, she gives them food. And if they want to treat her home as their own, she lets them. Without articulating it, she's trying to live a life of pure Christianity, of truly selfless giving of everything she has. Even if it brings harm to her.

"I was brought up in the church and I was taught to serve the people, because that was an important part of what Christ did, and in order to get in the kingdom of heaven you must, in God's light, walk the way that Jesus thought the Earth should come together," she says in her dreamy, lilting voice. "You must do some of those things in order to get into heaven." It wasn't long before God's words began visibly changing this block.

One night, not long ago, God revealed to her his biggest task yet. She began receiving visions of beautiful scenes from the Bible, and she was told to display these images to this fallen neighborhood. Suddenly, the drab apartment building on the corner was shining forth with brightly colored tableaus. And though these works are her doing, she insists they're not really her doing.

"I drew the pictures how God gave them to me," she says. "I go to bed at night and I pray. I ask God to show me what to do the next day. And he does."


God has been telling her things that needed doing in her neighborhood for a while now.

He inspired her to start mowing the grass on the empty lots within her sight, some nearly a block away. She cleared the alley of all the stray trees growing from the fence line. She made a community park out of the empty corner lot where a half-dozen homes once stood. It's got flowerbeds, lanterns hanging rustically from tree branches, and in the middle is the foundation of a pond that has yet to be finished.

Not long ago, the broken chunks of a long-gone home's foundation were scattered on it, making it impossible to mow, and no matter how many times she called the city for help in clearing them, she says, she got little response.

Then, one day, word spread that a little girl had been dragged there and raped in the tall grass growing around all those rocks. 

When Carey heard the news she was so angry, all she could think to do was grab a shovel and start furiously digging a hole in the middle of the lot, as if to single-handedly wipe clear the stain of the sin that just occurred there. 

"Before I knew it, I was in a hole this big," she says, spreading her arms wide. "I was just putting all the anger I had into that hole, and when I got up the next morning the Lord said, 'I'm gonna show you what to do with that hole.' He took me over to them bricks over there and I put those bricks around in a circle, and that's how that pond got started."

She also created a pond in front of her house, with fish swimming in it and wildflowers growing around it, making her yard an island of beauty on her weedy street. Soon, people started instinctively throwing coins into the water and making wishful prayers, like a form of folk magic. And just as instinctively, some of the same people started helping themselves to that money in the pond. Although she doesn't care about the money so much, Carey does draw a line when it comes to people's prayers.

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