Category: News Briefs Written by huffington post
The parking meters in Detroit won't be accepting plastic for the next few weeks. That's because the city has temporarily taken the machines' credit card processing offline in order to look around for a new credit transaction vendor. The meters will still continue to accept coins.
In the past Detroit has used PayPal to handle these credit transactions. Municipal Parking Department Deputy Manager James Canty told The Huffington Post that meter companies sometimes have an exclusive agreement with a particular credit card company. After looking into the matter, his department verified that Paypal did not have this sort of arrangement with the city's meter vendor. For this reason, the city of Detroit is now shopping around for one vendor to handle all of these services.
"We suspended it so we can set up that vendor based on the correct city contracting procedures. There was a little ambiguity whether this was the sole source for [processing] credit cards with the meter company," he said. "We're looking at every area of our business to ensure we're getting the maximum service for the best price."
Canty estimates the meters' credit card service will be up and functioning again in no less than 45 days.
The temporary suspension of the credit card option for meters adds another layer of inconvenience for those trying to find parking downtown. Visitors and commuters must already deal with limited parking availability, fluctuating rates at private parking lots for special events such as sports games and erratic attendance at these lots during non-event days.
Canty said he understands the situation is frustrating for drivers and downtown business owners who depend on accessible parking for patronage at their establishments.
"We ask they be patient," he said. "We apologize for the inconvenience, but the meters do accept coins at any time."
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 August 2012 16:05
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for southeast Michigan, in effect from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. Tuesday.
CBS62 Chief Meteorologist Jim Madaus said Tuesday’s high will approach the record of 101 degrees, set back in 1887, which will actually feel like 107 degrees when combined with the humidity.
An excessive heat warning means a prolonged period of hot temperatures is expected. High humidity will combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible.
The weather service advises that people should drink plenty of water and stay out of the sun as much as possible. Madaus says children, seniors and those with conditions such as asthma should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.
Children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. People are advised to check on older relatives and neighbors.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 July 2012 09:10
Category: News Briefs Written by Huffington Post
Chou Anime Cafe Offers Japanese Treats, Companionship And Waitresses In Frilly Costumes
Oneka Samet's cafe in the Midtown neighborhood of Detroit has been open for about three weeks and business is bustling. The 35-year-old proprietor says she has a steady base of customers from Detroit itself, as well as visitors from the city's suburbs. Some afternoons she gets as many as 20 to 30 people popping in to hang out, sip some coffee or grab a quick meal.
What's the recipe for her success? It's an unlikely one. Her secret is anime, a popular Japanese style of cartoons known to feature characters with dramatic expressions and exaggerated physical features -- as well as robots, Pokémon and young girls in sailor suits.
(Scroll down for photos)
Samet's business, the Chou Anime Cafe, is based off a type of Japanese establishment known as a "maid cafe" where servers dressed in lacy maid costumes lavish attention on their patrons. The Detroit coffeehouse draws from this tradition and from Japanese cartoons, but has been tweaked to appeal to an American audience.
Upon entering visitors are met with a friendly "konichiwa" from one of the establishment's maids (or its solitary butler) dressed to the nines in elaborate outfits. Some of them also elect to wear optional bunny or cat ears. Customers are free to browse a selection of anime-related merchandise or to grab something to eat or drink. The menu features a variety of fresh locally-produced salads and wraps, as well as specifically Japanese items like melon bread, pocky candy and a novelty soda called Ramune. The maids (and butler) don't just serve food though -- they also socialize and play board games with customers. Playstation 3 Video games are also available for a small fee.
One of the maids at Chou Anime, Kei-Chan, believes that, despite the American tweaks, the Detroit cafe remains pretty true to the original Japanese spirit.
"I think the concept is pretty much the same: waitresses dress up in cute little frilly dresses. We're friendly and nice and sweet to our customers," she said. "Some maids take a certain persona like the magical girl or the tough girl -- like the mean girl who's like, 'Here's your coffee I hope you enjoy it!'"
Each of the servers has a distinct profile that is listed on the company's website, www.chouanime.com. The company is contemplating listing their shifts too, so patrons will know when they can hang out with their favorites.
Kei-Chan, who won't share her given name due to a company policy, insisted to The Huffington Post that dressing up isn't an act for her. She said she dresses the same way at home. She's part of subculture called cosplay, whose followers dress up and role play as anime cartoons or other characters. It's a popular pastime in Japan that's catching on more and more in the Detroit area. The city is home to one of the country's larger cosplay conventions, an event called Youmacon that draws thousands to downtown Detroit each year.
Many of the cafe's patrons are part of this community, so the Chou Anime staff plans to sponsor some special events for them in the near future. These include a Pokémon dress-up gathering and a tea party for "Lolitas" -- girls who like to dress up in fancy dresses.
Samet isn't just an entrepreneur trying to capitalize on the anime and cosplay crazes -- she's a fan herself. Her favorite series is a cartoon series called InuYasha, which involves the time-traveling Tokyo girl and a half-demon. Samet, a native Detroiter, got heavily into the art form in 2005 while helping organize a youth anime club at the Detroit Public Library.
It's no surprise that cosplayers gravitate to the cafe. Samet started out Chou Anime as a retail operation, selling anime and cosplay merchandise -- messenger bags, costumes and craft items -- to fans at conventions and over the internet. (Chou, by the way, is a Japanese term for butterfly). She later moved her retail space into a booth at an indoor flea market in Detroit called the Russell Bazaar. These ventures helped her get the business experience and start up capital to set up the cafe, which had been her plan all along.
She was inspired after a trip to Tokyo in the fall of 2009, where she got a chance to get a first-hand look at authentic "maid cafes." It was an eye-opening experience that made her take a different look at American culture.
"People are really open and expressive -- like Kei-Chan would just be able to go outside, decide that she wanted to be cute and dress in pink frilly dresses," said Samet, "Whereas here it's a little more subdued. They're really welcome to being expressive and I think that's a part of what we want to embrace here."
Although the cafe, which is located near Wayne State University, has attracted a lot of cosplayers, anime fans and video game enthusiasts in their twenties and thirties, Samet said it also gets a fair number of older folks from the Detroit Medical Center, a nearby hospital.
Kei-Chan says those episodes result in an occasional culture clash.
"This elderly lady came inside," said Kei-Chan." She had her little grandkid. She was like, "Oh! What's this? I've never seen anything like this before.'"
Although initially disoriented, the woman eventually played a round of the board game Apples to Apples with her server. She had a good time -- even though she lost the game to her maid.
It's a moment that both Kei-Chan and Samet hope more people from outside the anime community will get an opportunity to experience.
"It's like a magical dimension," Kei-Chan said of her workplace. "It's really fun and nice to be here. It's not just for otaku (anime enthusiasts) and gamers. We welcome the normies too."
Last Updated on Monday, 16 July 2012 14:44
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
Great Lakes Coffee Offers New Java Experience In Midtown
DETROIT (WWJ) - A new coffee bar in Detroit’s midtown offers the unique experience of having your coffee filtered and your espresso brewed one cup at a time.
Owner James Cadariu calls it an ‘Institute for Advanced Drinking’.
“So it’s something new, providing the people … with something they haven’t had before – a really well thought out beverage program that you would find in New York or Paris or San Francisco,” said Cadariu.
Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company. (Photos/Violet Ikonomova)
Great Lakes Coffee has chosen the corner of Woodward and Alexandrine as its first retail site for artisan roasted fair trade coffee. All the coffees are roasted to order on a 25 pound San Franciscan drum roaster to ensure that “quality is so fresh and so clean.”
“So not just meeting the demands of the market but I think I’m creating a space that hasn’t been available before in the city,” Cadariu said.
In addition to selling the company’s coffee, the shop offers Michigan-brewed beer, fine wine and appetizers.
Their coffee of the month is the “bailout blend,” an exclusively Detroit blend. It’s described as “a complex cup full of liquorice and chocolate.”
“Holding the high ground against a society drowning in a sea of coffee mediocrity,” is how the company describes itself on the website. “The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company is a Fair Trade certified, artisan roaster. Our coffee blends are as refined as a Bordeaux and our single-origin coffees are as unique as a single-malt scotch. Ahead by a nose.”
Organic Great Lakes Coffee sells for $13.98 a pound.
Last Updated on Monday, 16 July 2012 09:43
Category: News Briefs Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
Southfield, MI - Hope United Methodist Church will present The 2nd Annual Southfield Festival of Hope, taking place at 26275 Northwestern Highway on July 12 - July 15, 2012, and featuring the largest carnival production in the midwest, come on out and have some fun there's something here for everyone. Four days of great rides, games, live entertainment, step show, and our delicious Soul Food Alley."
Donors for the event include St. John’s Providence Hospital, Ram’s Horn, S.E.T. Enterprises and other donors. Some of the jazz entertainment at The Southfield Festival of Hope include:
Thursday: Serieux 9:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Friday: Renowned saxophonist Randy Scott 9:45 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Saturday: Katrina Carson 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Al McKenzie and Penny Wells 9:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.,
Sunday: Gospel Music groups - Testimony Sings - 8:00-9:00 p.m.
LaToya Turrentine & Favor’s Voice - 9:30 - 10:45 p.m.
Additionally, there will be a Greek Step Show, dance troops, gospel choirs, and much more! There will be fun for the whole family.
July 12 & 13 - Thurs. / Fri. 4:00pm - 11:00pm
July 14 & 15 - Sat. 12:00noon - 11:00pm / Sun. 2:00pm - 8:00pm
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 17:18
Category: News Briefs Written by Huffington Post
PITTSFIELD TWP. (WWJ/AP) - Authorities say a woman has turned herself in to police in connection with a hit-and-run rollover crash that killed two children and injured several others.
AnnArbor.com reports Wednesday the woman was the driver of a Honda Odyssey, the same make and model police were seeking after the June 22 crash on U.S. 23 in Washtenaw County’s Pittsfield Township.
State Police said Dawn Siegel was hauling her 4 children and 2 step-children in the family minivan when witnesses said she was “cut off” by by another motorist driving an Odyssey. Siegel attempted to avoid the vehicle, but lost control on the shoulder and rolled over several times.
Michigan State Police Detective Dale Smith said the woman turned in the vehicle at the same time she turned herself in. Her name isn’t being released pending any possible charges in the case.
The funeral for 11-year-old Ashley Siegel and 14-year-old Jordan Siegel was June 26. They were students at Royal Oak Middle School.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 16:48
Category: News Briefs Written by Huffington Post
"Anyone want a fighting dog?"
A Detroit rapper named Calicoe recorded a tour of his pad, which may, from the looks of it, house a dog-fighting operation.
Young Calicoe, according to his Facebook and Myspace pages, lives in the Detroit neighborhood of Brightmoor and is supplementing his nascent hip-hop career by raising pit bulls. The rapper, who calls the animals "fighting dogs," seems to crates the pups in the back of his home. Reddit readers flagged this video this morning, and it's quickly going viral.
Calling it, "The worst Cribs' episode ever," Gawker wrote, "There is also a strong suggestion that roosters kept on the premises are also being used for the purposes of staging cock fights. One of them is introduced as 'Grand Champion.'"
The rapper denied the charges on Twitter. "If u find a video of me "FIGHTING DOGS" PLEEEEZE LET ME KNO," he Tweeted.
According to the Humane Society, involvement in dog fighting can result in variable fines and up to five years in prison in the state of Michigan.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 July 2012 14:57
Category: News Briefs Written by Patrick Keating, Chronicle Staff Writer
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson was the keynote speaker at the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 8th annual public policy breakfast.
During the course of his comments, Patterson said Oakland County got to where it is now — with a AAA bond rating, a nice surplus and jobs on the rise — through changes to the benefits packages.
“We’ve had 20-some adjustments that really have put us in good shape,” he said. “In 1984, we discontinued longevity pay. What that meant is if you were with the county more than 10 years, you got 10 percent. Well, we discontinued doing that. That was a handcuff in the old days.”
He said the county has subsequently saved $55 million in payments.
“In 2006, we discontinued the traditional defined benefit and went to our DCP plan, defined contribution,” he said. “On that one, we saved $400 million. If you take all of the adjustments we’ve saved to benefits and so forth, the total we’ve saved is $650 million. That’s why the county is in such good financial shape. We started a long time ago.”
Patterson reiterated his mantra: “thoughtful management vs. crisis management,” and said this is the result of decades of thoughtful management.
“Now the benefits have come home to roost,” he said.
Patterson added that Oakland is the only county in the United States to have paid off its legacy costs.
“You hear so much about legacy costs or promises made for retired health care,” he said. “We’re done. We paid it off a couple of years ago.”
He called it a win/win/win all around.
As to the future of Oakland County, Patterson said that the county once had all its proverbial eggs in the automotive basket, and that he couldn’t get out of that basket fast enough.
He said county officials could see that there would be a change in the kind of jobs available for the future.
“We went out there and did our research, and we found 10 sectors for employment in the future, and those sectors, of course, are the ones we now call the emergent sectors,” he said. “Every month, my staff gives me a report on how we’re doing in bringing in business in these 10 sectors.”
The sectors are advanced electronics, advanced materials and nanotechnology, aerospace, alternative energy, communication and IT, defense and homeland security — which Patterson said is one of the Top 10 growth sectors — film and digital media, insurance, Medical Main Street, and robotics.
He noted that since the inception of this program in 2004, the county has brought in 205 companies within those sectors. Those companies have invested $1.8 billion and created 26,000 jobs, and have paid $46 million to the federal state and local units of government. Of that, Oakland County got $4.3 million.
“So it’s paying for itself,” Patterson said.
“Diversification is the future of Oakland County,” Patterson stated. “We’re going into the high-tech sector. You might call it the knowledge-based economy. That’s where I’m gambling that I think this country’s going to go.”
He believes a knowledge-based economy will result in sustainable, high-paying jobs in the future.
Patterson also said it will take about 25 years before the county gets to the diversification he thinks is necessary. At that point, the county will likely be recession resistant.
He said he has got 109 people in the county’s Economic Development Department “laser focused” on emerging sectors.
He also said the budget dominates in this climate, and that the Budget Task Force works on it every week.
“But we still can walk and chew gum,” he said, adding that the Center for Digital Government has recognized Oakland as the most digitally progressive county in the country.
“For two years in a row, we’ve been ranked No. 1 out of 3,000 counties,” he said. “So we’re doing other things besides the budget.”
He pointed out that the county has had time to develop quality of life issues. One of them is Arts, Beats and Eats, which started in 1999.
“It’s now a major festival, ranked in the Top 10 in the country as far as attraction,” he said.
Another program is Count Your Steps, another major attraction.
“I asked my friends in the corporate sector to help buy pedometers for every third and fourth grader in Oakland County,” Patterson said. “We walk for a whole month.”
He said the kids have walked a combined 17 billion steps.
The Brooksie Way, named for Patterson’s late son, Brooks Stuart Patterson, who died in a 2007 snowmobile accident, is a half marathon Patterson initiated as a physical fitness initiative.
He said it grows every year and that profits are put into a fund called the Brooksie Way Mini.
“Any organization in Oakland County that has as its mission, its purpose for that group, to improve the health of its membership or improve the health of the community, we’ll help fund their costs,” he said.
During a subsequent question and answer session, Patterson spoke of the county’s efforts to attract foreign investment. He said Automation Alley, the technology and business association established in the 1990s, takes two or three trade missions a year.
He also noted that the county does a lot of international recruiting.
“We now have 840 foreign firms in Oakland County, creating about 140,000 to 145,000 jobs,” Patterson said.
He also pointed out that the county takes firms to foreign countries.
“They want to expand into the international market, so it’s a two way street, it’s not just imports,” he said.
L. Brooks Patterson addresses Hispanic business forum
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 June 2012 14:33
Category: News Briefs Written by Cornelius Fortune
Cobi Jones competes with his son during E3 in Los Angeles.
The E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) in Los Angeles wasn't just about showcasing jaw-dropping demos and new product announcements; it was a launch pad for an important cause: combating HIV/AIDS globally. Cobi Jones, a World Cup qualifier and soccer star, came out to support the (RED)RUSH TO ZERO campaign whose goal is to deliver an AIDS free generation by 2015.
Jones, a midfielder who starred for the U.S. Men’s National Team and MLS for nearly two decades, played 164 international games for the United States, a record that holds today, and tallied 15 goals and 22 assists. He competed in 11 World Cup games and was part of the Galaxy’s “double” winning team that won both the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup, giving him five championships during his time with the club. In short, Jones is a competitor.
He's also a huge gaming fan and even graced the cover of a Sega game. First-person shooters are usually his games of choice, especially the "Halo" series. The latest entry, "Halo 4" was another draw to attend the E3. "I had to see 'Halo 4,'" Jones said. "I play the soccer games, and lots of sports games." More important than "Halo 4," Jones was compelled to support the (RED)RUSH TO ZERO campaign, which officially kicked off earlier this month. "I think it's huge that they're trying to battle, combat, (and) rid the world of AIDS," Jones said. "And every time you play, you're actually donating to the cause, which I think is important."
Part grandiose, part social media, the (RED)RUSH TO ZERO campaign is aiming to raise funds and awareness to help deliver an AIDS Free Generation by 2015. The goal is to eliminate mother to child transmissions of HIV, which is part of eight Millennium Development goals. Extreme poverty and halting the spread of HIV/AIDS is another battle the campaign intends to fight. Celebrities supporting the RED initiative include Wayne Brady, Michelle Rodriquez, Kris Allen, Kate Upton, Cobi Jones, and a host of others. "This partnership is just starting out," Jones said, "but I'm sure as it gets bigger and bigger, more people are going to see what a great cause it is, and hop on board." For more information about the campaign, visit www.redrush.com.
Last Updated on Monday, 18 June 2012 12:09
Category: News Briefs Written by Cornelius Fortune
JOYSTICK required: The MOGA controller hopes to change the face of mobile gaming. "Pac-Man" is one of a select list of titles to use the new technology.
"Angry Birds" excluded, most games designed for your phone don't replicate the game controller that well ("Angry Birds" was designed for mobile platforms). While touchscreen technology has a plethora of advantages and intuitive controls, it's not always compatible with video game play. Enter the MOGA Mobile Gaming System just unveiled at the E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) in Los Angeles, Calif. Developed by PowerA (a leader in gaming innovation) this device connects to your tablet or cell phone, giving a much richer game experience on par with your console experience.
Once a very small industry, the mobile gaming field has moved from its infancy, and is now toddling towards a maturity that might reveal itself in just under a few years. And top game publishers have already thrown their support behind the technology. Industry leaders Gameloft, MachineWorks, Namco Bandai, SEGA, Atari and Ratrod Studio Inc. will deliver new and classic favorites such as "N.O.V.A. 3 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance," "Six-Guns," "Dungeon Hunter 3," "Painkiller: Purgatory HD," "Pac-Man," and others.
The prime objective is to bring console-quality gaming to consumers on the go. "Mobile devices are capable of console quality graphics today, but providing precision control is the key," said John Moore, vice president of product development and marketing for PowerA. "With MOGA we are unleashing the power of today’s smartphones and tablets to enable console quality gaming experiences that you can enjoy anytime and anywhere.
MOGA is the first and only complete mobile gaming system that combines a true state-of-the-art mobile controller, top quality game titles enabled by robust development software and a unique game library app that makes finding, using and sharing MOGA Enhanced games fast and easy.” Not only do you have a state-of-the-art game portable controller to rival what you use at home, the MOGA Pivot App also enables gamers to easily browse, find, and play a library of MOGA Enhanced games in one convenient location. MOGA Pivot will land as a free app via Google Play.
So far, the device is will only be available for Android 2.3 + users. Mobile gamers interested in taking their game to the next level will want a MOGA controller of their own, which will be available later this year. Till then, you can learn more about it at www.PowerA.com/MOGA.
Last Updated on Monday, 18 June 2012 12:02
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