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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” Also, “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” Because you can have the runs, 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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Help wanted

What happened when a woman used classifieds as a plea for her children?

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Christina Walsh and Danny Browning with Lyllie and Luther inside their apartment.

She was desperate. She had no job, and her boyfriend's small paycheck was barely enough to pay for everything. They'd sold the TV, and the couch they were sitting on was probably next to go. 

One night, the couple was going over their bills, projecting a budget through the rest of the year, and after subtracting for rent and water and heat and electricity, they saw what they'd have left over for her two kids' Christmas. 

Thirty dollars.

On impulse, she went online, logged onto Craigslist, and out of her burst the ramblings of a shot-in-the-dark plea:

My name is, Christina. I have two kids a boy 10 and a girl 6. I left their father last year. Things were really bad. He was hitting all three us and I had to go to save my babies. I ended up here in Detroit doing odd jobs. Mostly watching kids... I've been looking for a full time job but, no luck yet. I'm scared that I may not be able to pull off Christmas this year and my heart is really hurting for my kids. I just want to do right by them. If this email finds someone who can help me with phone #s or something that could help me maybe get a way to save Christmas for my kids. I can hardly keep the lights on let alone pay for a simple a pair of snow boots ... Please, I'm a good mom and I don't want to go back to that man. I'm at my wits end! Please ...

Some people are in far worse circumstances and might seem more deserving than Christina Walsh and her two kids. Others are better off, but they catch the right people's attention and wind up showered with donations or help. On the scale of need, the family falls somewhere in the wide, gray middle of simply not having enough.

She left her email address — — and logged off for the night. It didn't take long for the replies to come. 

They weren't what she expected.

Walsh, 34 lives in southwest Detroit, in the upper flat of an old apartment, with her boyfriend, 37-year-old Danny Browning, and her two kids, 10-year-old Luther and 6-year-old Lyllie.

Their apartment is clean and empty. The living room couch faces a bare wall where the TV once stood. There's little else in the place besides a dining room table. But this is better, Walsh says, than what she left.

She was 14 years old and living in California when she met her future husband. She was the well-off daughter of a schoolteacher and a vineyard owner. He was 29 and liked really young girls. He had a Mustang and drugs and pockets full of money.

"I thought he was the greatest thing since butter in a tub," Walsh says. "To a 14-year-old girl, getting taken on shopping sprees, getting your nails done, having money in your pocket, having that older guy with roses pick you up from junior high school and all your friends — 'Oh you're so lucky.' Yeah, till the hitting started."

She married him at 18, had three kids with him, became hooked on the meth he cooked and sold, and got smacked a lot, she says.

"He would be out of his mind and put a gun to my head and ask me where his dope was. He would put it away and lose it, and he would put a gun to my head and accuse me of stealing from him. His wife."

After more than a decade of this, she took the kids, moved to a battered women's shelter, got a restraining order against her husband, got a divorce, changed her name and moved with her two youngest children to Florida. Her oldest son, now 14, stayed behind with his grandmother. She went clean, she says, the night she was getting high in the bathroom and felt shame at the sight of her boy's little fingers reaching up under the door. 

She got work at a bar, then became a prison guard, a pretty good job. But state budget cuts led to prisoner releases, which led to layoffs, which led to her exhausting her unemployment checks, then her savings. And her ex wasn't paying child support. That's when she moved to Detroit, a place with even less opportunity, but a single hope.

Danny Browning grew up in southwest Detroit, and served in the Navy before returning to his hometown. "Danny is the epitome of the blue-collar hard worker," Walsh says. He works nights at AJM Packaging on Dix and Vernor by the knotty railroad tracks. They make paper bags, paper cups, paper plates. "Well, paper plates are a commodity these days," Walsh says. "At least you know he's going to have a job. Until the robots take over, I guess."

She'd met Browning online, they started talking, and fell in love. "He saved my life," she says.

"I was a lonely guy," says Browning. "I'd been in relationships and I had never felt anything for the relationships I'd had. She was the one that understood me the most."

She once took a 30-hour bus ride from Florida to see him in Detroit, and later he visited her there. "We were trying to plan to be together, but then she lost her job and it became a desperate situation. I was like, 'You know, I don't have much, but come up here. I've got a job here.' It took some convincing."

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