Most Read
  • 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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Higher Ground

Top cop changes his mind

"Ike" McKinnon says it’s time to take a public stance

Photo: W. Kim Heron, License: N/A

W. Kim Heron

Detroit's former top cop, Isaiah "Ike" McKinnon, at his University of Detroit Mercy office

It's a surprise to hear that Dr. Isaiah "Ike" McKinnon, Detroit's former top cop, believes that marijuana should be legalized and is speaking out on the issue.

"I've never taken a public position on this, but I think it's time to do so," McKinnon says. "We have to stand up for things we believe are right. ... My position is, let's look at this realistically and honestly. Too much law enforcement money and resources are being used on this. There are better things to spend our money on."

McKinnon was a Detroit Police officer from 1965 to 1984 and Chief of Police from 1993 to 1998 during Mayor Dennis Archer's first term. While serving as chief, he met secretly with southwest side gang members to create athletics and tutoring programs, talked a woman down from jumping off the bridge to Belle Isle, and did the same for a man threatening to jump off the People Mover. After retiring from the police department, Dr. McKinnon took a position as associate professor of education and human services at University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) and became a motivational speaker. His position that marijuana should be legalized joins that of a growing group of former law enforcement officials who have come to the conclusion that our drug policies have to change. It's a tough transition to make for a police officer who has been trained to believe just the opposite.

"Most people who were on the other side of this, it's not like, 'OK, now I'm on this side,' it's a slow process," says Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). "I'm just happy he's acknowledging these things about marijuana. It's a great start. I definitely applaud him for that.  It's challenging for people. Most police are in it because they want to do good for their communities. To come to the point where you think all of this work in drug enforcement has really been problematic for my community, it's kind of hard to swallow."

LEAP is a group of current and former law enforcement officers who are speaking out against the current policies regarding drug use, addiction and crime associated with the drug business. Franklin is a retired 34-year veteran of the Maryland State Police — where he once led the drug unit — and Baltimore Police Department. Franklin and McKinnon have never met, but it is that firsthand view of the effects of drug policy that brings them closer in spirit. McKinnon's doubts about drug policy began to grow as far back as his days serving with the Air Force in Vietnam in 1964 and '65. He knew other servicemen who used or even sold marijuana. He joined the Detroit Police Department in 1965 and a number of events made an impression on him.

"John Sinclair was arrested for one or two joints and sentenced to some ridiculous amount of time and that stood out for me," McKinnon says, referring to Metro Times columnist Sinclair, who in 1969 was sentenced to 10 years for giving two joints to an undercover cop.

"I was having some thoughts when Judge [George] Crockett started giving lighter sentences for people who had small amounts of marijuana. I was wondering are we certain this is the kind of thing that is totally detrimental to people. People I was in the military with, they smoked it in Vietnam. Later on, they would always laugh at me, a cop going up through the ranks. There were people who told me later on after I retired [in 1984] that they were using drugs. My son's godfather, who is deceased now, Brian Flanigan [a former Free Press reporter who is in the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame], told me later on after I retired that he had used drugs. He asked me if I would have locked him up. I said, 'Hell, yeah,' because it's against the law."

McKinnon says that his doubts never affected his police work. He had taken an oath to enforce the law. And regarding personal use of the substance, McKinnon says, "I never tried it and I never will."

Still, the fact that people smoked marijuana and didn't become derelicts made an impression on McKinnon, who says, "These were professional people and they were normal people and it didn't drive them crazy as people say. Which is just the opposite of people who use heavier drugs like heroin and cocaine, you can see a major difference in them."

McKinnon hasn't come all the way around on the drug war, but he sees little harm in marijuana when compared to other substances. He's in company with the California Medical Association, which a couple of weeks ago called for the legalization of marijuana, and with most people who seek changes in government drug policy. They see marijuana as rather benign when compared to the more addictive drugs, and some find it less dangerous than the legal substances tobacco and alcohol. But they're still not ready for totally ending drug prohibition.

Those who argue for a total armistice on drugs take the position that most of the problems and violence associated with drugs is caused by prohibition itself. They say there wouldn't be drug cartels if drugs were legal and regulated. They believe drug addiction should be treated as a public health issue. That drug users are forced into a lawless social underworld and the stigma of drug addiction keeps some from seeking help. Not to mention that the War on Drugs has been an unequivocal failure. Within the past six months the Global Commission on Drug Policy and the National Organization for the Advancement of Colored People have called for an end to the drug war — as U.S. Surgeon General under President Bill Clinton Jocelyn Elders did previously.

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