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  • Metro Times seeking stories of college sexual assault

    The Metro Times is looking to hear your experiences will sexual assault on a Michigan college campus — from anything to how many sexual assault prevention programs, rape kits or crisis centers you may have had access to, to how the administration or local law enforcement handled your experience. If you, or anyone you know might be interested in talking to a reporter at the Metro Times, please email us at

    The post Metro Times seeking stories of college sexual assault appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Get ready for National Tequila Day!

    Thursday, July 24th marks National Tequila Day, and forget everything you know about the beverage. Those nasty old “tequilas” of yesterday were find for doing body shots, but tequila has become something of a luxury spirit while few were paying attention. Have you tried all the varieties of tequila? Can you tell the difference between blanco, joven, reposed, añejo and extra añejo?  If your local bar doesn’t have the stuff that will help you celebrate this important holiday, there are several bars that cater just to the tequila fan. There’s Aqua Rum and Tequila Bar in the MGM Grand Detroit Casino in Detroit, as well as Rojo Mexican Bistro in Novi, which offers more than 100 kinds of tequila, and Taqo Detroit, a new spot serving American-friendly Mexican fare and serving an astonishing variety of tequilas, more than 200 in all. Been waiting for a reason to drink up this south-of-the-border nectar? You got it. Guzzle responsibly.    

    The post Get ready for National Tequila Day! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs

    In light of worldwide attention on its efforts to cut water service for thousands of Detroit residents, the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department said today it would host a Water Affordability Fair on August 2nd to explain options available to those facing financial hardship. DWSD officials said in a news release today the fair will be take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the department’s Eastside Customer Service Center at 13303 E. McNichols. The move came on the heels of growing pressure from opponents of the initiative and criticism from the U.S. bankruptcy judge overseeing Detroit’s Chapter 9 case. “Every customer that has come to DWSD with a legitimate financial hardship has not had their water service terminated,” said Darryl Latimer, DWSD deputy director, in a statement. “In cases where the water has been shut off, it’s been restored. We keep hearing at DWSD that there are poor people who are not receiving the assistance that they need, so we want to help them and we want to make it as easy as possible for the to receive that help. That’s why we created the Water Affordability Fair – ease of access and ease of assistance. We are here to […]

    The post DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation

    The folks at Thrillist have again compiled their annual list of the nation’s best burgers, and Southeast Michigan, it seems, is well represented. Ranking alongside joints in major cities such as New York and L.A., is Detroit’s own Motz’s Burgers, hailed specifically for its Double Cheeseburger Slider. Via Thrillist: There’s nothing remarkable about the façade of this SW diner… it’s just a diner, like the hundreds of others in the D. The staff’s been there for years… and so have the regulars, who can’t get enough of Motz’s legendary smashed burgers. The formula’s nothing revolutionary: smashed, griddled patties with oozy cheese and onions that melt into the burger itself as it cooks. But it’s that unmistakable flavor of a well-seasoned griddle — which has also been here for years — that makes the difference. You can score big burgers with accoutrements, but this isn’t really a place to say things like “accoutrements”. Grab the old-school slider (the double cheeseburger one), and prepare for three perfect bites of Detroit’s finest. Flint’s Torch Bar and Grill also made the cut, most notably for its Deluxe Torch Burger with Bacon. Tucked away in an alley beyond the brick streets that used to mark […]

    The post Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know!

    The Metro Times is looking for college students or graduates of Michigan colleges that used atypical means to pay for their schooling (i.e. sugar baby, selling underwear, military enrollment purely for school help, etc.). We are looking for personal anecdotes about the lengths you went to help pay for school, what came of it, your monetary situation, if the resource worked to get you through college and more. If you have utilized any one of these avenues, or know someone who has, please drop us a line at

    The post In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit

    File under “WTF” — attorneys representing former Psychopathic Records publicist Andrea Pellegrini announced Monday that they have subpoenaed Kid Rock to produce a glass dildo as part of Pellegrini’s sexual harassment lawsuit against the Insane Clown Posse’s record label. Pellegrini claims the glass dildo was given to her by Psychopathic Records employee “Dirty Dan” Diamond as part of a larger culture of constant harassment in which she was called “bitch,” made the target of explicit sexual advances by Diamond and other co-workers, asked to procure automatic weapons for a photo shoot, and even encouraged to “deceive government investigators from the US Department of Labor.” On Friday, Diamond admitted under oath that he told Pellegrini that he had “a fat cock” and that he would “fuck the shit out of her.” The dildo, though, was “a work of art,” according to Diamond, and should not be considered sexual harassment. Why is Kid Rock involved? Diamond says when Pellegrini declined his dildo, he gave it to Kid Rock instead (presumably as a “work of art” and not a sexual advance). So now, according to court orders, Rock has 14 days to produce the glass dildo so the court can better determine if it is art or, well, a dildo. We will […]

    The post Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Flower power

A family florist stays alive despite a fire, dementia and loss

Photo: Photo: Detroitblogger John, License: N/A

Photo: Detroitblogger John

Patricia Duff inside her home flower shop.

She unwraps the pink lilies and lays them gently on the table. With a knife she trims one stem at a time, and the discarded pieces fall to the floor.

This used to be where she and her family ate together. Now it's where she works.

Patricia Duff and her husband Nat spent a lifetime selling floral arrangements at Byron's Flowers on Woodward in Highland Park. Then, in March last year, their century-old business burned to the ground in the middle of the night.

They didn't even know their building was on fire until it was long over. Patricia would unplug the phone before going to bed because Nat had trouble sleeping. And so they slept through the blaze. They learned of it only when her son's friend knocked on their door in the morning and changed everyone's lives with a few words of news.

Although everything they had in Byron's was lost, Patricia was determined to somehow keep the family business alive. And so her house became a flower shop.

"If we shut down we'd lose our business, and there was no way we were gonna shutdown," says Patricia, 68.

She called the phone company the day after the fire and had the store's phone number transferred to her house in Detroit's Boston-Edison neighborhood. She brought fresh flowers home from the wholesaler, put some in the fridge, put others by the window so they'd open their clenched petals when the sunlight touched them. There were customers waiting on arrangements, standing orders that knew nothing of a fire.

And slowly, she adapted to a new life.

"We don't have the same amount of business, but we have business," she says. "And we don't have the equipment we had, but we're still able to operate. And that's the most important thing."

Wholesalers cut her a break, letting her purchase things one by one rather than in bulk like she used to. Instead of buying invoices by the box she prints them one at a time on a home computer. Instead of ordering professional business cards she now gets them for only $1.99 for 500 of them if she leaves the printer's advertisement on the back of her cards. It's less than ideal, but it's better than giving up.

"We're really strapped for cash," she says. "We just try to cut corners as best as we can. It's a lot different, but it's manageable." Her kids Nicole and Damian help her out without taking any pay for it.

Some of her regular customers have found her new location, directed here by a banner the family hung along the iron fence that still circles the site of the fire.

Consultations are held in the living room, the solarium is used for storage, and the flowers get trimmed and arranged in the dining room.

Patricia wants to move back to the old location, into a new building. But the insurance company, she says, is dragging its heels on paying the claim until they finish investigating the fire. Meanwhile, the city is eager to clear the charred rubble still piled on the lot. If that happens before the investigation is done, though, the insurance won't cover it, and Duff gets stuck with a demo bill she can't possibly afford.

So she waits, works from the house, pleads with the city to wait a little longer, and hangs on day by day, trying to fulfill a promise her husband made to the family.

"The whole mindset is, in the black minority community there aren't any businesses that go on to the second generation," she says. "That has always been our goal. It's the continuance that's the most important thing, surviving to the next generation. So I want to keep my husband's dream alive. That's the reason why."

She has to keep that promise by herself now because he can't do it anymore.

Patricia and Nat
met in the late '50s. He'd come north from Alabama and was working at a car wash. She worked at the Dairy Queen next door. They were a mixed-race couple in a time when that meant trouble.

"It was very hard," Patricia says. "We were pulled over by the police a lot for being together. We were followed sometimes. There weren't many places in public we could go to."

Nat got his start at Byron's as a delivery driver and quickly worked his way up. "My husband would deliver them but he kept looking at the arrangements," she says. "Sometimes he would take them apart and redo them so he would learn. He taught himself."

The owner grew to love him so much that when he died in 1969, his wife was left with instructions to sell the shop to Nat, his longtime, loyal employee. The Duff family has run it ever since.

Patricia believes her husband's was the first black florist shop in the Midwest, and he was one of the first minority owners to belong to FTD, the industry's largest network. It was a lonely distinction.

"We would go to FTD conventions and he would be one of two black people there," she remembers.

They went through a lot together at the shop. There was the time robbers came in, beat the couple and threw them down the stairs, all for $200. The time when celebrants broke in and stole flowers to commemorate one of the Pistons' championships. The time a drunk drove his car right through the front wall of the shop. The time burglars broke in and rummaged through everything, all while the terrified family listened from the other room, where they had been sleeping after pulling an all-nighter before a busy holiday.

"There were a lot of things that happened at the flower shop, but we stayed," she says. "We're survivors."

Then came the fire.

Her husband
doesn't live at home anymore. He'd recently begun to slip into dementia, and by last year Patricia found herself taking care of him fulltime. The 70-year-old man had endured four strokes and open-heart surgery, and developed a host of other health problems that turned out impossible for her to handle alone. Last fall, she had to move him into a nursing home.

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