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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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Opening Day Issue

The woman who replaced Hank Aaron

Telling the story of Toni Stone, first female Negro League player

Photo: , License: N/A

2011 Opening Day Issue

Never let it be said that baseball is "just a game," at least as it relates to Toni Stone.

For Stone to step into the batter's box or make a play at second base was to overcome overwhelming racist and sexist obstacles that existed in mid-20th century America — baseball no exception. Jim Crow was a frequent teammate, as she traveled the country during the 1953 and 1954 Negro League seasons.

Born in 1921 in St. Paul, Minn., all Stone ever wanted to do in life was play baseball. Her parents, urging a career as a teacher, nurse or secretary, objected to her sporting ambitions. Eventually they acquiesced and let her play on a church team as a kid.

As a teen and young adult, working odd jobs to pay the bills, Stone joined several loosely organized, semi-professional teams in Minnesota and in California after she moved there 1943. She was often viewed by fans as a novelty, but that got ballpark seats filled, and that meant revenue to league organizers.

After Jackie Robinson broke the major league color barrier in 1947, African-American players trickled out of the storied Negro Leagues and into the majors. That meant openings for more players, including Stone.

She signed first with the Indianapolis Clowns, where she replaced Henry Aaron at second base when he went to the majors. Her second, and last, Negro League season, she played for the Kansas City Monarchs.

Stone's life and career — from neighborhood pickup game to cross-country barnstorming to obscurity in retirement — are aptly recounted in Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone, the First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League (Lawrence Hill Books, 274 pp., $24.95), written by Martha Ackmann, a senior lecturer in gender studies at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.

The author spoke with Metro Times about Toni Stone, the Negro Leagues and what they mean to America.

Metro Times: Your first book, Mercury 13 was about women who secretly trained as astronauts in the early days of the U.S. space program. How does Curveball follow that?

Martha Ackmann: I write books about women who have changed America. When I went about searching for a topic for my next book, I knew I wanted to write about sports because I think sports are a great window for looking at American culture.

MT: How much of researching and writing the book was contextualizing the Negro League?

Ackmann: Because the book is both about Toni Stone and the times in which she lived, the other story besides her own I was trying to tell is the story of Jim Crow America, specifically through the lens of Negro League baseball. For example, I wanted to talk about Jim Crow conditions that Negro League players faced when they traveled around the country. Certainly there were Jim Crow restrictions all over the country but particularly in the South. So I talked about what would happen when players tried to get a meal in Washington, D.C. Henry Aaron reported that one thing he would never forget was the sound of dinner plates crashing. Some restaurants would serve black players but then they wouldn't wash the dishes; they would be so disgusted in their racism with black men coming to eat in their restaurant that they would break them instead.

MT: Did one detail hit you more deeply than others?

Ackmann: I was familiar with Jim Crow, eating conditions and lodging and traveling across the country, but when I read that black fans in New Orleans had to sit behind chicken wire, that was an indignity that was very, very disturbing to encounter.

MT: What kind of Jim Crow conditions but also sexism did Toni Stone face?

Ackmann: Sometimes when she pulled up to a boarding house or a hotel in the South, the 28 guys would get off the bus and she would be the only woman. The proprietor would look and say, "You must be a hustler or a prostitute," and direct her to the nearest brothel. Toni eventually had no other choice. She would have to stay there. She said, in her words, "These were good girls." I think she saw something of the outcast in them that she felt herself as a marginalized figure. Surprisingly to her, the good girls gave her a place to stay and laundered her uniform and sewed padding into the chest of her uniform so she could take hard throws to the chest, and eventually she built up a network of brothels where the girls would meet her sometimes in a car and take her to the brothel and show her the respect that she didn't find elsewhere.

MT: Did you find inspiring as well as disturbing stories?

Ackmann: I tried to get at the truth, and sometimes the truth cuts that way to be both disturbing and fascinating in the same way. I think it's very important to get down that kind of documentary evidence to try to be a witness to history — especially a history that not a lot of people know about a woman who wanted to play America's game.

MT: What were her Detroit experiences?

Ackmann: She played in Briggs Field [later known as Tiger Stadium], that was one of the many big, big stadiums, like Yankee Stadium and Comiskey Park in Chicago. I think she always really loved playing in the big stadiums, and it wasn't too far from her hometown. She was very familiar with the upper Midwest, coming from St. Paul. I think Detroit in the late '40s and the early '50s was a pretty great place to be playing Negro League ball. There was a lot of support and they were always packed games where she felt she got a lot of exposure.

MT: Did Toni Stone always play second base?

Ackmann: As a kid she played every single position. She was such a phenomenal athlete. I remember interviewing people, players who played against Babe Didrikson Zaharias [a noteworthy female athlete who was best known as a golfer but also played semi-pro baseball in the 1930s], they said, "Babe was a good player, and Toni Stone was a really good player." As a kid she played everything. She got knocked out once when she was catching and she said, "OK, I've had enough of that." She played a lot of outfield but by the time she was in her late teens to early 20s she ended up on second base.

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