Category: News Briefs - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
According to authorities, a 28-year-old man is being held in connection with the death of his girlfriend. Police grew suspicious and searched the home after the boyfriend called on Saturday to report his 29-year-old girlfriend missing. During the search police found, what seemed to be bloody plastic.
The woman’s body was found inside the couple’s Farmington home. Detectives say the man told them the woman died after a domestic dispute turned violent. The case is currently being reviewed by the prosecutor’s office for possible charges. Her name and cause of death has not yet been released.
Last Updated on Monday, 25 February 2013 07:21
Category: News Briefs Written by Britney Spear, Regional Content Editor
Will Detroit get the ultimate Olympic Gold?
The city has received a letter from the U.S. Olympic Committee to possibly host the 2024 games. 34 other cities in the United States also got the invitation.
In considering bids from across the country to host the Olympics, the committee must determine which is most capable to handle the capacity of such an event. Before a final decision is made, certain factors such as infrastructure, financial resources and other assets must be considered. Their solidity tends to be a requirement for hosting the games.
The committee seeks to identify which city presents the most compelling bid. It must typically be an area that reflects leadership through its political, business and community-related endeavors.
Does Detroit stand up to the challenge? Granted, the city has its struggles. Yet, it did exceptionally well with its 2006 hosting of the Super Bowl. An event of its kind would serve as a tremendous economic asset, boosting business and helping to restore the city's financial stability.
Perhaps, the committee won't count us out against the other contenders. Putting Motown back on the global map for a good reason is sure to have its perks.
Follow Britney Spear on Twitter @MissBritneySp
Last Updated on Friday, 22 February 2013 09:45
Category: News Briefs Written by Cavan Sieczkowski, huffingtonpost
Marguerite Joseph, from Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich., will turn 105 in just a few months but Facebook doesn't know that, Detroit station WDIV reports. Because of a Facebook glitch that won't allow her to input her birth year of 1908, Joseph has been 99 years old for the past two years, as far as the network knows.
"Every time I tried to change the settings to the right year, Facebook always came back with an unknown error message and would send us right back to a year she wasn’t born in," her granddaughter, Gail Marlow, who has tried to contact Facebook about the issue, told WDIV. "I would love to see her real age on Facebook, I mean in April she’s going to be 105. It’s special."
Last Updated on Friday, 22 February 2013 14:28
Category: News Briefs Written by huffingtonpost
Golden Corral restaurants may offer all-you-can eat buffets, but are they open to all?
The federal government sued a Westland, Mich. Golden Corral franchise Wednesday for allegedly kicking out a family after noticing a child that suffered from a genetic skin condition. The lawsuit charges that the restaurant's manager violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by denying service to Danielle Duford of Garden City, Mich. and her four daughters. Three of Duford's daughters suffer from epidermolysis bullosa, a condition that makes a person's skin extremely vulnerable to blistering.
According to the suit, manager David Robinson asked Duford what was wrong with one of her children, saying: “she has scabs all over, so obviously there is something wrong with her.” The document also noted that Robinson asserted the restaurant had “a right to ask what’s wrong if it concerns our customers and is contagious.”
The family was then asked to leave, despite repeated attempts by the mother to educate the restaurant management about the condition and the fact it was not contagious, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
The government is suing to prevent other incidents of discrimination and is seeking compensation for the family, as well as a $55,000 civil penalty.
"The promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act is that disabled citizens should have full access to public life. We hope that this lawsuit will assist in expanding people's understanding of the range of disabilities and the obligations to treat all disabled citizens fairly under the law," Barbara L. McQuade, the U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan said in a release.
Last Updated on Friday, 22 February 2013 09:12
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and Bill Pulte, chairman of the Detroit Blight Authority and CEO of Pulte Capital Partners, unveiled their plans today for a public-private partnership that will become the cornerstone of the mayor’s next phase of blight removal for the city of Detroit. The pilot site of the newly formed authority is a recently cleared 10-block area at the corner of St. Aubin and Wilkins Street, near Eastern Market.
“For many years, children from this neighborhood have had to walk by blocks of boarded-up homes and piles of brush and dangerous debris to get to Detroit Edison Public School Academy,” Mayor Bing said. “Today, thanks to Bill Pulte, the Detroit Blight Authority and our committed partners, this area is much safer for our children and the land has become an asset for this community and the entire city.”
The Detroit Blight Authority is a private, non-profit organization founded by Bill Pulte to provide a new model for blight elimination in the city of Detroit.
“The Blight Authority has been working with the Mayor’s Office for several months on a game-changing blight elimination strategy where, unlike efforts to-date, both debris-ridden lots as well as abandoned structures are removed,” Pulte said. “This model carries out blight elimination at nearly half the cost and recycles over 80 percent of the material. Our goal is revitalizing communities block-by-block.”
Mayor Bing has pledged to demolish at least 10,000 structures during his four-year term. To date, the Bing Administration has demolished more than 6,600 houses, and is on target to meet the Mayor’s goal by year-end.
The east side pilot site for the Detroit Blight Authority was cleared in just 10 days, at an unprecedentedly low cost and with high efficiency.
“We were able to tear down homes for less than $5,000 each,” said Lt. Col. James Henderson, CEO of the Detroit Blight Authority. “That’s about half of the $9,500 per home cost of publically funded efforts,” said Henderson, who is a retired U.S. Army veteran of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, and has more than 20 years of experience with large-scale logistics and disaster recovery initiatives.
Division of labor coupled with competition among contractors and other operational efficiencies can reduce costs in an unprecedented way, according to Pulte.
“We are leveraging our experience and relationships to fully realize those efficiencies,” he said.
The Detroit Blight Authority is aggressively pursuing additional public and private funding in an effort to expand this blight removal model throughout the city of Detroit. The organization is working with Mayor Bing, the State of Michigan as well as local foundations and the Southeast Michigan business community.
Support for this initiative has come from several Detroit stakeholders, including the Kresge Foundation, DTE Energy, PwC, Michigan Caterpillar, Luke’s Services, MCM Demolition and Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn.
Pulte is the grandson of William Pulte, the founder of Pulte Homes. William Pulte built his first home in 1950 in Detroit at the age of 18 and built his company into America’s largest homebuilder. In creating the plan, Bill Pulte worked with his grandfather, and the two devised a plan to attack blight based on Pulte Homes’ proven and time-tested process for large-scale land clearing.
“We knew that we had to look at the problem differently and broadly if it was going to be done with any effectiveness,” Bill Pulte said. “We tried to convince the necessary stakeholders of that, and as you can see from the pilot, Mayor Dave Bing has been a great partner in adopting and creating this new model.”
Elected officials and political candidates can send information regarding issues to
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 22:42
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Britney Spear
With less than thirty days left to decide on whether or not Detroit will have an emergency manager, Governor Rick Snyder is set to address the media in an afternoon round table to discuss the city's finances.
Snyder is not expected to make the official announcement, but rather will offer an update on where things currently stand. His address comes just two days after the state-appointed review team declared Detroit in "financial emergency". The team cited the dependence on money borrowed to avoid a tremendous deficit along with long-term liabilities as the basis for their decision. The team further blamed the city's current bureaucratic structure for it's failure to put in place a plan for resolution.
Snyder has remarked on the painstaking process of determining whether or not to appoint a financial manager for the city, expressing that he will review all details before making his final decision.
Residents are split on the issue. Many believe that Detroit’s only way out of its troubles is to bring someone new and from the outside to address them. Some instead argue that recovery requires the city and state working together. They cite the progress made over the last couple of months. Yet, is the problem too big for that proposed solution?
At this point, Detroit’s current challenges have reached a level where it just might be necessary to invite a fresh pair of eyes to take a look at the situation.
Time will tell which side of the argument is the right one.
Follow Britney Spear on Twitter @MissBritneySp
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 09:59
Category: News Briefs Written by Tyler Kingkade, huffingtonpost
The Pi Kappa Alpha national organization has suspended the University of Michigan chapter after members sent semi-nude photos of fraternity brothers and a party invitation to a sorority.
Tuesday's suspension followed the publication of the invitation and pictures on Friday on the website BroBible.com. The invitation and photos, sent to sorority Alpha Phi, show naked frat brothers covered in various ways by the American flag -- and in one case, a Jimmy John's sandwich.
Justin A. Buck, executive vice president of Pi Kappa Alpha, said on the group's website that the photos and invitation were "inappropriate and offensive."
"Clearly, these actions are neither in line with Pi Kappa Alpha’s values nor those of The University of Michigan," Buck said.
Ryan Lee, 19, president of school's chapter of the fraternity, told the Detroit Free Press the photo and email were "satirical," and were never intended to be seen outside of the sorority.
"We did not mean to disrespect the sorority, veterans, America or the flag at all in the picture and we apologize if anyone was offended," Lee told the newspaper.
The email invitation begins:
Subject: Cute Puppies, Organic Gourmet, High Fashion, and How to Make Him Eat Your Box (aka URGENT!!!!)
Do you love your homeland? We at Pike sure do. We read Whitman's poems by our fireplace and pour maple syrup on our apple pie. We hold Alexander Hamilton's belief that keg stands are not "a feat, but an expectation." We recognize His benevolence in bestowing upon us His great and Holy game of Football, and one of our sophomores drives a pick-up truck.
Tuesday evening, hours after the frat chapter's suspension, BroBible.com writer Andy Moore posted a follow-up to the photos and invitation that had touched off the tempest.
"This is a ridiculous overreaction and a blatant abuse of the national fraternity's power," Moore wrote. "Pike's national fraternity should reverse this ill-thought-out decision before any damage is done." Moore insisted the photos were "hilarious" and that the invitation was "equally humorous."
The photos and invitation also were published on BuzzFeed and on Jezebel.
The language of the email is mostly without expletives. "What is America? America is a place where drinking until you puke means drinking until you win," the invitation reads. "America invented the blunt. And LSD. ... America is the love child of 2 Chainz, Kate Upton, and Tim Tebow. America is the Doritos Locos taco and Mountain Dew Baja Blast."
The next paragraph suggests any woman not excited about the party is a "terrorist whore."
The Michigan Daily reported that the campus Intrafraternity council has not decided whether to issue disciplinary actions of its own.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 14:37
Category: News Briefs Written by huffingtonpost
On the shores of Lake Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes is already heralded as America's most beautiful scenic overlook.
A $100,000 grant from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation will help extend that beauty.
Departing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Monday that the Sleeping Bear Dunes Heritage Trail will be extended by five miles, connecting the town of Glen Arbor north to the Port Oneida Rural Historic District.
The awards gave $12.5 million dollars to 29 projects in 20 states that seek to improve access to national parks, forests and wildlife refuges.
According to the National Parks Service, the ultimate vision for the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail (SBHT) is a "hard-surfaced, multi-use trail paralleling M-22 and M-109 for 27 miles through the Lakeshore" -- heaven for bikers, runners and other visitors who want to experience the park outside of their automobiles. The total project is expected to cost $10 million, with the final bill split between philanthropic grants and state and federal funding.
The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore encompasses 65 total miles in the northwestern part of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, an expanse chosen as the "Most Beautiful Place in America" by ABC's Good Morning America. Chef and author Mario Batali is one of the area's biggest boosters -- he penned a Huffington Post blog celebrating the "Sahara Desert dunes" and their "Caribbean-blue water."
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 08:59
Category: News Briefs Written by huffingtonpost
$21,000 for a toy monkey? Michigan's Department of Human Services (DHS) will be fined that amount after a toy ape that was placed on top of an African-American employee's cubicle was left there for three weeks.
The fine was levied by Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina after her consideration of a 2010 discrimination lawsuit filed by DHS worker Crystal Perry, the Lansing State Journal reports.
Perry had sued after fellow white employees were promoted and she was not, but the judge found no evidence last month of discrimination for that charge. But after learning that a toy ape had been placed in her workspace and was not taken down by her supervisor, however, she fined the agency $1,000 for each day of the three weeks the toy had remained on her cubicle, in addition to Perry's attorney fees, according to the Associated Press.
Perry, who has a master's degree in human resources and labor relations from Michigan State University, believes the action was racially motivated. Her supervisor said he didn't know who put the toy on Perry's work cubicle, according to the news agency.
“(It) is despicable,” said Judge Aquilina, according to court transcripts cited by the Lansing Journal. “It is not worthy of any state department. It is a continued, hostile work environment. It is upsetting. It is beneath any American.”
The Michigan DHS plans to appeal the judge's decision in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The agency also drew fire last year for taking thousands of families off the state's welfare rolls.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 08:37
Category: News Briefs Written by David Sands, huffingtonpost
Detroit bargain properties are hot right now, with low-end homes being listed for as little as $1 dollar, and demand is intense. But real estate agents caution that it's worthwhile to do some research before plunking down any money on these homes to avoid unexpected complications.
Few people know this as well as Re/Max agent Albert Hakim. The Metro Detroit-based realtor specializes in real estate-owned properties -- an industry term for distressed real estate that goes back to the banks or other institutions after a foreclosure. Hakim believes he handles more of these bargain homes listed under $1,000 than any other realtor in Michigan.
Hakim told The Huffington Post that the Detroit neighborhoods with the keenest interest in REO properties at the moment are the Boston-Edison district and areas around downtown. He added that the great majority of these homes that do sell end up as rental properties.
Hakim's team of six agents gets between 50 and 100 leads a day on REO properties, and of these, he estimates that about 70 percent of calls come from outside Michigan. He said interest in Detroit real estate is especially high among foreigners. "China, Asia, Australia, U.K., Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Lebanon, Iraq, Brazil, Sweden, Spain, Russia, Morocco. I had a call from Israel. You name it," he said. "I get them every day. ... I get phone calls at three in the morning."
Despite the high level of interest from abroad, Hakim said foreigners and other outsiders are often clueless about the complexities of buying a home in Detroit. "They're so naive," he said. "They don't understand, when the house sits vacant, that [thieves are] going to bust in and steal the pipes, steal the water tank."
He added that many potential buyers are ignorant of the total costs involved in buying distressed properties. While a home might be listed for $1 or $100, Hakim said in reality buyers end up paying quite a lot more. Costs associated with city inspections, title-processing, property taxes and other fees can raise the total price of a bargain home to the low thousands. Such homes may also require extensive reconstruction, new plumbing, electrical rewiring and other work that adds more to the final tab.
Regardless of these issues, though, home prices in Metro Detroit appear to be recovering from the disastrous dive they took nearly five years ago when the housing market bubble burst.
“Despite that there are currently 15 properties for sale in Detroit for less than $100, home prices actually improved significantly in 2012 for the first time in years," Alison Schwartz of Move, Inc., which operates Realtor.com, told The Huffington Post in an email. "Negative equity remains a major factor in keeping Detroit sellers from listing their homes, but the market seems to be on the upswing."
According to a report released earlier this month by the real estate analysis firm Clear Capital, home prices in the Detroit-Warren-Livonia metropolitan region rose 0.5 percent this quarter and 7.1 percent this year. However, Metro Detroit still ranks 13th on Clear Capital's list of the nation's lowest-performing major metropolitan real estate markets. The report also listed the Detroit area as having an REO saturation of 46.2 percent, which means that nearly 50 percent of homes on the Metro Detroit market were previously foreclosed.
Schwartz believes the reason for Detroit's rising home prices is scarcity. "Like many other recovering foreclosure markets, the key is inventory, and Detroit has 25 percent fewer homes on the market today than a year ago," she said. "This leads to greater competition and increased home prices. As values in the market continue to rise, more homeowners will be in a position to sell and restore vitality to the market.”
Hakim, however, said competition over the limited number of properties is driving prices up artificially. He said in the long run it would be better for banks to put more foreclosed homes up for sale.
"People who believe it's going up -- it's false," he said. "You have a false market right now. ... Put out every foreclosure back on the market [and] it's going to go down, but it's going to go up quicker."
Hakim's advice for potential Detroit real estate bargain-hunters is less complicated. He urges them to get in touch with an established and knowledgeable real estate agent before buying a property.
"People get that aura: 'We can do it on our own,'" he said. "You're going to incur costs. This is not a get-rich scheme. This is not an infomercial at 2:30 on a Saturday night."
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 08:24
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!
- Detroit Begins A New Chapter as Detroit Bankruptcy is Allowed to Proceed (1)
- Joyce Hayes Giles retires after 35 years with DTE (2)
- Sarah Palin accuses Obama of Libya ‘shuck and jive’ (1)
- Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy, pension cuts (2)
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network among lowest priced health plans on Michigan’s ACA health insurance marketplace (1)