Category: News Briefs Written by Huffingtonpost
Pop-up businesses seem to be springing up everywhere in Detroit in recent months. One of the most anticipated of these may be a new east side satellite of the popular southwest Detroit coffee shop Cafe Con Leche, currently open for business in Detroit's Lafayette Park neighborhood until the first week of December. Like the original, the offshoot cafe offers a selection of beverages with a decidedly Latin flavor like Cuban coffee, Spanish hot chocolate and mate, an Argentinean tea.
The Huffington Post spoke about the new business with proprietor (and HuffPost blogger) Jordi Carbonell, an immigrant from Barcelona who opened the shop five years ago with his wife, southwest Detroit native Melissa Fernandez. A week into the enterprise he shared his thoughts about the neighborhood, architecture and future prospects of the pop-up cafe.
Tell us about the your new east side shop.
The name of the venture is called Cafe Con Leche del Este. We have an opportunity to do a pop-up business in a second place [to] try the market [to see] if a second coffee shop can work for us [and] for the neighborhood.
To do this pop-up, it was a collaboration with different organizations from the neighborhood like the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the design group RogueHAA, the owners of the Lafayette Shopping Plaza and the Jefferson East Business Association (JEBA). It was amazing. In like two months we started talking and tried to move everything and we set up everything.
The reception of the neighbors has been pretty amazing. They're really excited. That area had a coffee shop seven years ago, Paris Cafe, that closed. It was over there 14 years. And it looks like for this seven years it was a topic of conversation between them: "Why don't we have another coffee shop?"
How did the pop-up come about?
Customers come in here. They live in the area. They started asking me about checking out Lafayette Park. They know the owners of the hotel. Detroit Economic Growth Corporation found out about that. They are involved with the neighborhood and they came to ask me: "Eh, we heard you are interested over there, we can help you." They [are] helping businesses do pop-ups in other areas of Detroit like Indian Village, University District -- 7 Mile and Livernois. I wasn't really interested because some customer asked me about that. It was a combination of people.
Cafe Con Leche used to be located across I-75 on Bagley, but it didn't seem that you got a lot of foot traffic. How does the new location compare to that?
It's different. You had to create the flow of the people, the flow of traffic. It wasn't really a route for people. In Lafayette Park it's already full of people passing [by]. There is already interest from downtown, people coming from the Grosse Pointe area, and it already [has] neighbors living just a few feet from the location.
How does it compare to your current location on Vernor and Scotten?
We tried to be in concordance with the architecture of the buildings. The architect of the building was Mies van der Rohe, one of the famous architects. Even the menu and the layout we tried to do in concordance with the architect's style. If I'm going to stay, it's going to look like something more that Mies would like. More minimalist. The one coffee shop we have right now we're trying to do more bodega or Latin warehouse.
I'm trying to adapt to the needs over there. I found that the neighborhoods are different, maybe in backgrounds and ethnicities, but the needs are the same. They needed space for networking, space to communicate or relate to the community. It was needed here more than what I was thinking when I [started] it. In a week or so over there, it was the same needs. Detroit needs these kind of place
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 10:00
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - The Detroit School Board is holding a special meeting Tuesday night to unveil a major proposal on overhauling the district.
WWJ’s Vickie Thomas sat down for an exclusive interview with Detroit Board of Education President LaMar Lemmons, who shared some of the proposal’s details ahead of the meeting.
Lemmons said the sweeping overhaul calls for eliminating hundreds of administrative positions.
“The money is being saved in a bloated bureaucracy and bloated administration costs. We have a number of superintendent positions between the superintendent and the school principal, many of those positions will be eliminated. We have deputy superintendents, chiefs of staff, and all these people are in many cases, in most cases, are well into the six figure salary range,” he said.
Lemmons said the proposal also calls for eliminating the Education Achievement Authority, a system set up for failing schools, and putting those thousands of students back in the city’s public schools.
“We also are going to call upon the parents to drive to stop the expansion of the Education Achievement Authority and we’re going to cancel our relationship with the EAA, so that by the fall we’ll be prepared to absorb those additional kids in our buildings, which are currently being leased for $1 to the EAA system,” he said.
Lemmons said the funds saved by the proposal will be divvied up to take care of the district’s debt, with a majority going back into the classroom.
“We can save millions of dollars and direct those dollars to pay down the debt and to reduce class size, and that’s something that none of the emergency managers have done,” he said.
The School Board will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the main branch of the Detroit Public Library.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 09:22
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) – Police say a 16-year-old girl died after being shot by a gun that a 19-year-old was showing off to friends at a home on Detroit’s northeast side.
The shooting happened around 1 a.m. Sunday a home on Hillcrest Street, where a group of young people were hanging out.
Witnesses allegedly told police they were visiting with friends when a 19-year-old, whose name was not released, stopped by to try to sell a gun. The man was reportedly showing off the weapon when it accidentally discharged.
Police say the 19-year-old shot himself in the finger, and that same bullet hit the 16-year-old girl, an eleventh grader at Grosse Pointe North High School, in the side. The shooter then took off.
The homeowners called 911, but decided to take the girl to the hospital, where she later died.
The 19-year-old was reportedly treated at St. John Hospital, before fleeing the scene. His whereabouts remain unknown.
An investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 09:09
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) Remember the halcyon days of 2011, when Thanksgiving involved turkey, giving thanks and hanging out with your family all day — and then lots of people got up at the crack of dawn the next day for Black Friday shopping?
Apparently those were the good old days.
Target and Walmart will both be opening the evening of Thanksgiving to kick off holiday shopping deals, with Target announcing Monday they’ll open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving; Walmart and Sears will do the same thing, but an hour earlier — starting their “Black Friday” deals at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
Workers and traditionalists are fighting back with a petition on change.org asking the retailers to save Thanksgiving by moving sales back to Black Friday. About 155,000 people have already signed a petition asking the Target CEO to “take the high road and save Thanksgiving.”
Petitioner C. Renee of California writes, “Since workers need to show up sometimes hours before the store officially opens, this will take much of Thanksgiving away from retail employees across the country. Target can take the high road and save Thanksgiving for employees like me and our families by saying no to ‘Thanksgiving Creep.’”
Heather Barefoot wrote on the petition: “Is the Corporate office opening on Thanksgiving too?!?! I think not. So how dare you ask your store employees to give up their holiday so you can make an extra buck. It disgusts me that you could even contemplate such an idiotic and obnoxious idea.”
Word on Twitter is Walmart workers may go even further and strike on Thanksgiving. The website for Corporate Action Network says 1.4 million people work for Walmart — and the site, and other union-affiliated networks, are urging those workers to walk off the job on Thanksgiving and hold demonstrations about “saving Thanksgiving.”
The site says workers at Sam’s Club in Madison Heights will demonstrate on Black Friday, as will workers at the Walmart in Chesterfield, Troy, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Roseville, Farmington, Livonia, Utica, Dearborn, Taylor and Novi.
The website www.allvoices.com says, “It might be one of the largest labor protests in decades.”
Last Updated on Monday, 12 November 2012 17:20
Category: News Briefs Written by The Grio
Research shows that whites with kidney cancer consistently outlive blacks with the same condition. (Photo: Fotolia, ©bst2012)
From Healthline: Racial disparities between blacks and whites affect a number of diseases and health outcomes, and cancer is no exception. Research shows that whites with kidney cancer consistently outlive blacks with the same condition, according to a new study appearing in the American Cancer Society’s publication, CANCER.
Black Americans also have a higher incidence of kidney cancer to begin with, but despite comparable tumor size, surgical treatments, and other patient characteristics, they die sooner than whites, pointing to a host of other factors at play that should be explored in additional studies. Previous research has shown that social support, health literacy, education, and socio-economic status all contribute to racial health disparities—so doctors, individuals, and policy makers have their work cut out for them.
Last Updated on Monday, 12 November 2012 16:44
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit police say twice in the last two weeks people have climbed utility polls to conduct illegal energy hook ups.
The latest victim was a man who, last Friday, was killed when he touched a live wire. In both cases, the people were electrocuted, leaving a gruesome scene.
DTE Energy Chief Security Officer Michael Lynch says people who do illegal hookups are endangering everyone.
“This, when a person tries to hook up electric service, is when fire occur. If somebody’s trying to restore gas service, that’s how explosions occur. So, this is a quality of life issue; it’s a huge safety issue,” Lynch told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Marie Osborne.
“I can’t stress it enough — they’re risking their life by touching a wire. It looks innocent, but it packs a powerful punch and it can end somebody’s life in an instant,” he said.
Lynch said if a person is having problems paying a utility bill, they should call DTE for assistance. Those who rent their home or apartment need to make sure their landlord provides safe, legal utility connection.
“We partner with many community groups to go out there and help people who are in need. When we talk about greed versus need — theses are the persons that we go after and prosecute,” Lynch said. “So, we’re talking about landlords who offer free electricity included in their rent and they’re stealing.”
Lynch said they have been stepping up efforts to prosecutor those who steal electricity.
Anyone who knows of an illegal hookup is urged to call the police.
Last Updated on Monday, 12 November 2012 16:36
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
FARMINGTON HILLS — October was another month of solid recovery for the southeast Michigan housing market.
Figures from the Farmington Hills-based real estate information firm Realcomp II Ltd. showed 6,298 home sales in October, up 21.1 percent from 5,199 in October 2011. And the median sale price was also up sharply, to $89,000, up 22.8 percent from $72,500 a year earlier.
Foreclosure sales edged up 2.9 percent in the 10-county region, to 2,080 from 2,021 a year eaerlier. Non-foreclosure sales rose much more significantly, 32.7 percnet, to 4,218, from 3,178 last year. In addition, 755 of the total sales, or 12 percent, were identified as short ales.
The median sale price on foreclosure sales was $43,000, up 16.2 percent from $37,000 a year earlier. The median sale price on non-foreclosure sales was $123,000, up 11.8 percent from $110,000 a year earlier.
The average days on the market for all sales fell by 16 days from a year earlier, from 94 to 78. The number of homes on the market fell by 17 percent from 30,147 in October 2011 to 25,035 in October 2012.
By county, and the city of Detroit, here are the figures for October:
City of Detroit: 323 foreclosure sales, down 3.9 percnet from 336 a year earlier. 189 non-foreclosure sales, up 3.3 percent from 183 a year earlier. Median sale price on foreclosure sales, $8,700, up 7.9 percent from $8,060 a year earlier. Median sale price on non-foreclosure sales, $17,000, up 20.8 percent from $14,078 a year earlier.
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Last Updated on Monday, 12 November 2012 16:23
Category: News Briefs Written by Harry Bradford, The Huffington Post
In the wake of President Obama's reelection, one CEO is doubling down on his criticisms of Obamacare.
Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter said he plans on passing the costs of health care reform to his business onto his workers. Schnatter said he will likely reduce workers’ hours, as a result of President Obama's reelection, the Naples News reports. Schnatter made headlines over the summer when he told shareholders that the cost of a Papa John’s pizza will increase by between 11 and 14 cents due to Obamacare.
"I got in a bunch of trouble for this," he said, referring to the comments he made in August, according to Naples News. "That's what you do, is you pass on costs. Unfortunately, I don't think people know what they're going to pay for this."
Schnatter went on to say he's neither in support of, nor against the Affordable Care Act, even admitting that "the good news is 100 percent of the population is going to have health insurance.” But he’s not the only one in the chain restaurant industry to admit that workers hours may be reduced, since Obamacare mandates that only employees that work more than 30 hours per week are covered under their employers health insurance plan. For example, Darden restaurants, the parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster, has already experimented with reducing workers hours in anticipation of the legislation.
Others have responded to the added costs of Obamacare more harshly, including Applebee's franchisee owner Zane Tankel who said his company won’t hire new workers because of the law. Just this week, a Georgia business owner also claimed he cut employees due to Obamacare and in fact had specifically laid off those who he thought had voted for President Obama.
Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Applebee's was not planning on hiring new workers due to Obamacare. It is only Applebee's franchisee Zane Tankel who has taken that stance.
Last Updated on Monday, 12 November 2012 11:53
Category: News Briefs Written by Huffingtonpost
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving regarded as one of the biggest shopping days of the year, may be dramatically different this year.
Organizers are planning a nationwide strike against Walmart, the largest retailer in the world, and are banking on a new strategy: online organizing.
Labor organizers are working with social action nonprofit Engage Network as well as corporate watchdog nonprofit Corporate Action Network to pull off what they are calling a "viral" -- meaning national and spreading online -- strike.
Walmart workers interested in joining the day of action are directed to this website, either to find a store near them with an organized strike or to "adopt an event" at a store near them.
Brian Young, cofounder of the Corporate Action Network, said on a conference call coordinated by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union Thursday, that organizers cannot cover the roughly 4,000 Walmarts across the country, but enabling self-appointed leaders online has widened and decentralized the campaign.
Supporters can also sponsor a striking worker, who may be losing wages in order to strike, by donating grocery gift cards. The campaign has raised more than $13,500 worth of donations toward grocery gift cards since Oct. 15 -- a figure that doesn't include significant funds raised through mailed-in checks, Jamie Way, of the UFCW, told HuffPost.
The campaign is also mobilizing strikers and supporters through a Facebook app, multiple Facebook pages, a Tumblr and Twitter with the hashtag #walmartstrikers.
"This online mobilization, in addition to traditional on-the-ground organizing, has allowed the campaign to reach into the rural corners of the country that might have otherwise been overlooked," Marianne Manilov, cofounder of the Engage Network, said on the conference call.
She pointed to a group of renegade workers in Oklahoma who mobilized in October. "A completely unorganized set of workers in Oklahoma spontaneously went out on strike and held their own type of action without any organizer or … connection with the broader organization," she said. "This is what organizing looks like in the age of Occupy."
The outreach leading up to Black Friday follows a series of unprecedented actions taken by Walmart workers against their employer and working conditions. In October, for the first time in the company's 50-year history, more than 70 workers at multiple Los Angeles-area Walmart stores walked off the job, even though their jobs are not protected by an official union. The strike had a ripple effect, causing strikes in 12 other cities, in large part through online organizing.
The success of these strikes, as well as one over the summer touted as the largest ever protest against the company, and a six-day pilgrimmage of warehouse workers in September, would not have been possible without Facebook, Twitter and other web sites, Young said.
"Making Change at Walmart," which organized the demonstrations and is a campaign affiliated with the UFCW union, has over 25,000 supporters on Facebook.
Although it does not officially represent Walmart workers, OUR Walmart, organized by the Making Change campaign, acts like a union to fight for the rights of Walmart workers. OUR Walmart, which was founded last year with 100 members, now has over 14,000 supporters on Facebook.
Corey Parker, a Walmart worker from Mississippi, said on the conference call that he became active with OUR Walmart after finding out about it through a HuffPost article on Facebook. Now, he has mobilized workers at his store to strike on Black Friday because, he said, he realized that "not being able to make a living was not just an issue at my store."
Adding fuel to movement, Walmart announced Thursday that it will kick off its Black Friday sale at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, its earliest start ever.
"Lots and lots of Walmart workers are going to be forced to not have Thanksgiving because they're going to be preparing all day for the busiest shopping day of the year," Dan Schlademan, director of Making Change at Walmart, said on the conference call. "This essentially cancels Thanksgiving for hundreds of thousands of workers."
"It's not like Walmart is financially hurting. It's not like they're not making unbelievable sums of money. The price of this is really decimating an important family day in our country."
But Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo said of the sale, "Last year, our highest customer traffic was during the 10 p.m. hour and, according to the National Retail Federation, Thanksgiving night shopping has surged over the past three years."
"Most of our stores are open 24 hours and, historically, much of our Black Friday preparations have been done on Thanksgiving, which is not unusual in the retail industry," he said, adding that the strikes planned for Black Friday, will not "have any impact on our business."
Regarding the action over the last few months, Restivo said, "While the opinions expressed by this group don’t represent the views of the vast majority of more than 1.3 million Walmart associates in the U.S., when our associates bring forward concerns, we listen."
In September, dozens of Walmart-contracted warehouse workers in Southern California's Inland Empire walked off the job and went on a six-day, 50-mile pilgrimage to protest working conditions and retaliation for speaking up.
More than a month later, the warehouse company NFI responded to some of the strikers' working condition requests. "Just in the last week, we've seen the warehouse operators scrambling to replace broken and unsafe equipment, they've rented fans to increase ventilation, and they've added more water coolers," Elizabeth Brennan, communications director for Warehouse Workers United, said on the conference call.
However, the strikers who returned to work have continued to face retaliation, many times getting their hours cut from 35 down to eight, she said. Some of these warehouse workers will join striking Walmart workers on Black Friday, Brennan said.
Excluding the retaliation, organizers hope to see that type of positive response after Black Friday. And with an online system open to anyone who wants to start a strike in his or her local Walmart, Manilov hopes both the demonstration and response will be broad-reaching.
"This is one of the first labor campaigns to really fully embrace the potential of online-to-offline labor organizing," she said. "As this captures fire, its potential is limitless."
Last Updated on Monday, 12 November 2012 11:54
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - It’s Veteran’s Day and a World War II vet and one of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American pilots in the US military, says he’s relaxing this veterans day.
At 90, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Jefferson has just returned from speaking to high schoolers in Portland Oregon.
“It was exhilarating, actually exhilarating, to let the young people know that freedom ain’t free, somebody’s got to pay the bill,” said Lt. Col. Jefferson.
Jefferson still fits into his WWII bomber jacket and remembers flying missions in France.
He flew escort for bombing missions and says there was discrimination against him and other African American pilots.
“We were discriminated against, they had to build a separate airfield in Alabama to train us to fly, we could not be integrated with the rest of the men. It was segregation and discrimination from the very beginning,” he said.
“I was treated as an officer and a gentleman in the POW camp because of the Geneva Convention,” he said. “I literally sat the war out, because officers that were in the camp did not have to work,” he said. “Enlisted men went to separate camps and you could make them work.”
Jefferson, who turns 91 this week, was shot down during World War II and spend nine months at a Prisoner of War (POW) camp, but says he doesn’t think of himself as a hero.
Last Updated on Monday, 12 November 2012 09:00
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