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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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Rage against the machine

The mayor held a meeting to hear from residents. They gave him an earful.

Photo: Detroitblogger John, License: N/A

Detroitblogger John

A heated meeting with Bing

They came full of anger, and brought with them a long list of grievances. Tonight, the target of their fury would be placed before them on a stage. And by the end of the evening they'd drive him from the room.

The occasion was Mayor Dave Bing's fifth District Community Meeting with city residents, held Sept. 13, at Charity Lutheran Church on Kelly south of Seven Mile. The people who came to the event would not be those Bing is normally accustomed to mingling with inside the protective cocoon of his high-rise office. Tonight the room would be filled with people from "the neighborhoods," the catch-all term for the large swaths of the city characterized by untended parks and abandoned houses and stubbornly high crime rates.

They came not to pose questions, but instead to vent their rage, to get their pound of flesh from the man they accuse of destroying the city and handing the remains to outsiders. This would not be an evening of civil discourse.

"We don't usually have the opportunity to have a mic in our face," said Wanda Jan Hill, a retired city employee who was eager to confront the mayor. "They don't listen to the people. They listen to the shakers and the movers, that's all you hear about, but you don't hear about the ordinary Jane or John. And we need to be heard."

The meeting opened with a prayer by the church's pastor. It was the only quiet moment of the night. 

Before the mayor arrived, nearly two-dozen department heads filled out the seats on the stage and the first few pews in this little church, while several members of the mayor's executive protection unit stood off to the sides.

Kirk Lewis, Bing's deputy mayor, rose to the podium amid a wash of hisses and boos, and had the department heads stand and introduce themselves. Some of them drew indifference from the residents, others brought a smattering of boos.

There were dozens of Detroit cops in the audience, as there had been for previous community meetings with the mayor. They were here to protest the succession of cuts to the department, the proposed 12-hour shifts, the shortage of equipment and manpower. Suddenly they began to shout, "No police, no peace!" and the whole room took up the chant.

Lewis wasn't having any of this. "We're not going to get very far with these outbursts," he lectured. "This is very disrespectful to the community. Thank you. Now, with that, I'm going to introduce Mayor Dave Bing."

The mayor walked onto the stage, and the crowd erupted into a throaty, sustained "BOOOOOOOOOO!" The department heads in the pews looked to one another, and in response they all stood up and began applauding theatrically towards the mayor. This defiant gesture only further inflamed the crowd, and the boos grew deafening.

Here now, seated before the people, was the man in charge of this ailing city, someone most people only ever see on television. The stage was left unlit, as if the shadows afforded some protection from the crowd's ire. The City Charter requires seven of these face-to-face encounters between the mayor and his constituents each year — one in each of the seven new City Council districts — otherwise he would likely have preferred to have been somewhere else, anywhere else. After four previous meetings like this, Bing knew what to expect. He sat there exposed and vulnerable, with the look of a man about to undergo a root canal.

Question time began. Each resident had to fill out a card beforehand, and mayoral staffers hand-picked which questions could be asked and then called upon each resident to come to the microphone for two minutes. A Bing staffer kept time with a stopwatch, and held up printed cards noting that a minute had passed, followed by one that said, "Time is up." But few people had actual questions, and few adhered to the time limit.

The audience members did not pussyfoot around their feelings. The first speaker addressed Chris Brown, the city's chief operating officer. "I'm going to be honest with you. Seriously, you make me sick," he told him, without specifying why, other than noting his high salary.

The next speaker approached. "My issue is the blight, the overall non-commitment to neighborhoods," Marcus Cummings said to the mayor. "What are you doing to stop the blight, the drugs, the murder, the killing? What are you doing to help the police department, fire and EMS? You've done nothing to build these neighborhoods back up, i.e. citizens, which are leaving at an alarming rate. What are you doing?"

The room hushed as Bing leaned into his microphone. But instead of addressing Cummings, he turned to his group executive of planning and facilities. "Karla Henderson, if you would, would you give some overview and an explanation of what we're doing?" This infuriated the audience.

"He asked you the question!" a woman shouted from a pew. "Bing! The question was directed at you! We pay our taxes, we deserve to get answers. You got to answer him." Henderson began to speak. Someone shouted, "Who's the mayor here?" The crowd drowned out Henderson's words.

Bing stepped in. "It's very difficult to deal with so many people yelling and screaming at the same time, so if you ask a question and we can hear the question, we'll answer the question," he said in the tone of a sighing grandfather. "Let me hear the question that you want answered."

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