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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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Cover Story

The depths of debt

Is higher ed worth the cost?

Photo: , License: N/A

The way we think about college has changed a lot in the last few decades. Instead of graduation denoting entry into a bright world of new possibilities, today's graduation marks the time to begin paying back an insurmountable, suffocating debt of student loans.

College debt and the long-lasting role it plays in so many lives today isn't something that can be summed up easily, but the numbers are staggering. Last year, student loan debt surpassed $1 trillion, outstripping our nation's credit card debt for the first time in history.

Also, some aren't just swimming in thousands of dollars of debt — they're barely treading water as they struggle with loans of $100,000 or more.

Consider this: Since 1978, the price of tuition at U.S. colleges increased more than 900 percent, an astonishing 650 points above inflation, the literary magazine n+1 reported last year. Furthermore, in 2009 the Project on Student Debt found that, on average, college seniors left with $24,000 in outstanding loans upon receiving their diplomas.

Consider that the college grads of the baby boomer generation were often able to put themselves through school, and graduated with the then-reasonable possibilities of settling down, buying a home, a car, or even saving money before going for the aforementioned. 

Compare that to today's students, who not only graduate in debt, but often show surprising disregard for the enormous price tag of a degree as they sign loan after loan. 

What's more, today's graduates face a much different environment than a generation ago. The New York Times reported that, in May, researchers from Rutgers University released a study on recent graduates that found 40 percent of the study's participants had delayed in making a major purchase (house, car, etc.) because of debt from college. Nearly one-quarter said they stopped attending school or moved in with relatives to save money. Only half of those interviewed for the study reported they had full-time jobs.

In other words, The American Dream is becoming more a relic of the past than an attainable future goal.

The number of unemployed graduates mentioned in the Times article is consistent with data culled from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and the U.S. Department of Labor, the Associated Press reported this May. Of Americans 25 or younger with bachelor's degrees, roughly 53 percent, or 1.5 million, were either unemployed or underemployed.

Nothing encapsulates the overarching frustrations and concerns more pointedly than the comment Chelsea Grove, a Bowling Green State University student forced to drop out due to overwhelming loans, made in the New York Times report:

"I'll be paying this forever."

Grove, the story continued, accumulated $70,000 of debt in her tenure at Bowling Green and currently works three jobs to meet her $510 monthly obligation. She added, in regard to the possibility of finishing school one day:

"For me to finish it would mean borrowing more money. ... It makes me puke to think about borrowing more money."

Those who choose to buckle down and march on toward graduation with debt to the extent of Grove's face a heavy toll. A study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank in New York found nearly 2 million people at least 60 years old are still paying student loans, arguably throwing all possibilities of retirement out the window. One-third, the study found, is represented by those 40 and older.

Even if a student accumulates the average debt-load of $24,000, the repercussions are still grim.

One of my friends, who has roughly $14,000 in debt, is currently making a $220 payment each month — about the equivalent of a car payment — and will do so over the next decade, meaning the load will be paid off in his mid-30s. The list of potential woes goes on and on when you consider the consumer activity lost to loan payments won't help stimulate a flagging economy. 

Furthermore, with a generation of graduates facing formidable debts, where will the baby boomer generation find prospective owners looking to purchase their homes?

The question for young people now is whether pursuing higher education to improve employment prospects later on in life — something that has been documented as being entirely true — is really worth the risk.

Ryan Felton is a Metro Times editorial intern. He is a recent graduate of Wayne State University. You can reach him at

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