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    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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Sloshed 2012

Home (state) brew

Will 2013 be the year Michigan beer earns respect from the state's drinkers?

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Something wonderful has happened with Michigan beer. A gradual loosening of brewing laws has caused the craft beer industry to take off throughout the state. In just a few decades, we've seen more than 80 brewpubs and microbreweries sprout up, with more opening all the time. And, instead of competing against one another, Michigan's craft brewers seem to be coming together and helping each other, a kind of synergy seldom found in modern business.

In fact, you could argue that, in the last five years, the profile of Michigan craft beer has risen such that, nationally, many regard this as one of the top 10 beer states. From long-timers like Bell's to award-winning breweries such as Jolly Pumpkin, brewing has reached a critical mass and made North Americans sit up and take notice.

That's good news for the state's craft brewers. But when will more Michiganders notice the wealth that's in their own back yard? Judging by the statistics, only one mug in 20 poured in Michigan is of beer brewed within the state. By those measures, we lag behind others such as Washington, Oregon, California — where instate craft brewers can garner 10 percent or more of their states' markets. Is that kind of notoriety at home just around the corner?

Scott Graham of the Michigan Brewers Guild says, "I think it's a great question, and something worth thinking about. I like the analogy of a snowball: You start with a tiny ball of snow, and snow packs up around it. The bigger it gets, the faster it gets bigger. I think right now we're still at a pretty small snowball size, but when it does achieve critical mass, it could happen very quickly."

He says, "When I crunch the numbers, we're looking at a 5 percent market share for craft beer sales in Michigan, and 3.5 percent market share for Michigan craft beer in Michigan. Now, those numbers are for 2011. In 2010, those numbers were 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively. And I think we're going to gain share faster and faster each year. ... One thing we included in our mission at the guild this year was the goal of achieving a 10 percent share of market in Michigan."

Achieving a growth in market share of almost 300 percent? Even as beer consumption continues to decline? It could happen. Especially if state brews keep cropping up in restaurants as they have been. One need only look at the phenomenal success of area bars that have identified themselves with local craft beer, from Detroit's Park Bar and Grand Trunk, to see it attracts a following.

And the popularity is growing. Graham says, "Just a few years ago, when we saw craft beer at restaurants or party stores in particular, it was getting in through the back door, that is to say, the chef or owner was pushing it due to some personal or emotional attachment to the product."

He points out how, increasingly, Michigan craft brews are coming in through the front door.

"Now we're seeing things like the casino serving craft beer, or prominent chains like Buffalo Wild Wings having Michigan beer on tap and offering samplers and having an educated staff. Its reach has gone from the outlets that were emotional about it into outlets that are having fun with it and seeing that it makes good business sense. And I think a lot more consumers see that."

Not only has Buffalo Wild Wings started emphasizing Michigan crafts in its Michigan restaurants, so have regional mini-chains like Claddagh. Even Applebee's — hardly a bastion of locally grown food — has jumped on the local beerwagon, serving Michigan crafts in metro Detroit restaurants.

As Graham mentions, casinos, which usually go for safe bets, are serving Michigan crafts, as seen in our chat with MGM Grand Detroit General Manager Steve Zanella (page 27) about the casino's new restaurant, Tap.

"A few years ago," Zanella says, "we had a big beer tasting, and it was amazing how many people came in. It was Atwater Brewery's October beer festival, and they came in and did a tasting at Bourbon Steak. ... It was very intriguing. ..."

Or ask Joe Hibbert, part of the team that has recently opened Palate in Milford. He notes that national chains have adopted local beers. "Those guys nationwide are starting to jump on the local bandwagon," he says. 

But he qualifies his own motives carefully, saying, "Myself, I've been drinking craft beer forever, so it doesn't take motivation for me to put good beer on tap."

Though he's a longtime fan, he's also been involved with providing food for the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti, and has seen that Michigan beer can draw 4,000 people in two days. 

At Palate, Hibbert feels confident enough to not just include Michigan crafts, but to stress them, saying, "You're not going to find any of the yellow fuzzy stuff. ... People are getting more educated about beer, and we're educating them one at a time as they walk through the door. ... People just need to try it and give it a shot and people are going to love it. New Holland's Full Circle is one of the beers I usually start traditional beer drinkers off on — it's crisp, clean, and we make our fish batter with it. It's not going to bite your tongue off like Short's Brewing Company's Huma Lupa Licious, which is one of the best IPAs in the country."

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