Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Patrick Keating, Chronicle Staff Writer
The city of Southfield was recently awarded $60,000 from an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant for environmental investigations of contaminated land to determine if it can be redeveloped.
The funds are part of a $600,000 EPA Assessment Grant the Oakland County Brownfield Coalition (OCBC) received to conduct investigations for contamination to clear the way for future development of brownfield sites. Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Madison Heights and Pontiac also each received $60,000 with the remaining $240,000 to be distributed to other Oakland county communities.
"These grant funds will assist Southfield in identifying potential sites that can be redeveloped and put back into productive use – spurring economic growth and investment in the city," said Mayor Brenda Lawrence. "The program also provides attractive incentives to prospective buyers and developers by covering the cost of assessments thus reducing the risk associated with unknown environmental conditions."
Brownfields are defined as abandoned, idle, or under-utilized industrial and commercial properties where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. Regardless of their classification, all brownfield properties face economic impediments to reuse and redevelopment.
Grant funds are used for assessment of sites believed to be contaminated by hazardous (non-petroleum) substances, including identification, profiling, inventory and prioritizing of brownfield properties.
In 2008, Southfield received a direct allocation of $200,000 from the EPA which was used to conduct environmental investigations at eight sites throughout the city that investors were seeking to redevelop, including: 26500 Northwestern Hwy (800-LawFirm)–completed; 30161 Southfield Road (McDonald's)–completed; 23600 Telegraph Road (Maxitrol) –completed; 22800 W Eight Mile Road (Advanced Auto Recyclers)–rehab project currently under construction; 22100 Telegraph Road (Shaw Electric) – completed; 24541-24555 W Twelve Mile (Shops on Twelve Mile)– proposed development currently at Planning Commission; 25250 Evergreen Road & SE Adjoining Parcel (former People's State Bank) –still in planning stage; and 20830 Rutland Drive (Adult Rehabilitation Facility)–rehab project currently under construction.
The City of Southfield Brownfield Redevelopment Authority will offer developers and investors the opportunity to access grant funds for Phase I or II environmental investigations that are required before brownfield properties can be purchased and redeveloped. The city's Brownfield Redevelopment Authority can assist businesses in redeveloping vacant or underutilized industrial sites that may require environmental cleanup as part of Southfield's continuing effort to address urban core industrial redevelopment.
For more information about brownfield redevelopment or other economic development opportunities in Southfield, contact Business Development Manager Rochelle Freeman at (248) 796-4161 or visit www.cityofsouthfield.com.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 June 2013 07:00
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Patrick Keating, Chronicle Staff Writer
Musician Jack White has stepped forward to pay a $142,000 back tax bill owed by the Masonic Temple. Had the bill not been paid, the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, could have been put on the auction block.
According to reports, the Masonic Temple's 1,586 seat Catherdral Theatre is being re-named in honor of the Detroit native. Not only has White played there (both with the White Stripes and as a solo performer, but so have such acts as the Rolling Stones.
The donation, made on May 30, was initially anonymous. Construction on the Masonic Temple began in 1920 and was completed in 1926. The 14-story building takes up a block and has more than 1,000 rooms. It was built by the architectural firm of George Mason and Company.
In addition to the theatre, the Masonic Temple's features include a chapel, eight lodge rooms a barber shop and a 16-lane bowling alley.
The Masonic Temple is located on Temple Street (formerly Bagg Street) across Cass Park from the Michigan Chronicle.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2013 17:00
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by by Patrick Keating
According to reports, U.S. Rep Sander Levin (D- Mich.) and Ferndale mayor Dave Coulter are going to live on a grocery budget of $31.50 this week.
Levin and Coulter are taking this step to raise awareness about how much of a struggle it is to live on food stamps, a federal program facing cuts. On average, recipients of food stamps in Michigan receive $135.84 a month, which works out to $33.96 every four weeks.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) faces cuts of up to $20 billion over 10 years as part of a larger farm bill. A vote is expected to be taken on the matter next week.
Rep Frank Lucas (R- OK), chair of the House Agriculture Committee, has co-authored the bill, which would also trim agricultural subsidies.
Levin, the ranking democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, indicated that he's taking part in the challenge of living on such a limited food budget so that he'll have some insight into the struggle so many Americans face.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2013 18:05
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Amber Bogins
The Senior Alliance (TSA) and the Detroit Area Agency on Aging (DAAA) head up a collaborative network of community-based organizations that has been selected to participate in a national learning collaborative devoted to strengthening the capacity of networks of community-based organizations that support seniors and persons with disabilities.
“We are excited to form this collaboration with The Senior Alliance,” stated Paul Bridgewater, President/CEO of the Detroit Area Agency on Aging, “which will yield a replicable model for urban provider networks that serve the aged and disabled citizens in Integrated Care and managed care environments across the country.”
In a new approach, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, has selected nine networks of community-based organizations (CBOs) from across the country that have experience serving seniors and people with disabilities to receive training in marketing, contracting, and pricing their services. “The Senior Alliance is excited to join DAAA and dozens of our local aging and disability partners for this collaborative process with the ACL,” said TSA Executive Director Bob Brown. “This is a unique opportunity for each participant to bring their particular expertise to the table. Our aim is to create a comprehensive network that will more effectively serve the needs of the aging and disabled community in Wayne County.”
ACL recognizes that while local organizations know their communities and the issues their clients face daily, they may not have expertise in forming business relationships with healthcare providers. DAAA and TSA’s proposal for technical assistance seeks to support enhanced business capacity to establish a partnership among Wayne County aging, disability and long-term care service providers. In addition to the two Area Agencies on Aging, the partnership will include a network of approximately 38 providers of Home and Community-Based Medicaid waiver management entities; and other providers of community-based Long Term Care Supports and Services.
The technical assistance provided by ACL will help the CBOs build skills and align service capabilities so they can build business relationships with healthcare entities that do not typically provide community-based long-term services and supports, like hospitals, health systems, Accountable Care Organizations, and managed/integrated care plans. These changing relationships, supported by the Affordable Care Act, encourage better integration between hospitals, insurers, health care providers and the CBOs that often provide day-to-day support to older Americans and people with disabilities so that they can stay healthier, remain in their homes and reduce health care costs.
During the initiative’s intensive education phase, the nine local networks will form a national learning collaborative that will share experiences, including lessons learned, innovative ideas, and best practices for providing integrated care in a variety of community settings. At the conclusion of the initiative, the collaborative will share its models and other tools with communities and local agencies facing similar challenges.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2013 16:15
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
A partnership between the city of Jackson, Mich., and the University of Michigan School of Information aims to develop information tools such as mobile apps and social media sites designed to help citizens interact with their local government in new ways.
The project is pending the Jackson City Council's approval of a resolution at 6:30 p.m. June 11.
The three-year project, Citizen Interaction Design, takes lessons learned in the business sector—namely that social media and technology can help people communicate and work together effectively—and applies them to local civic life.
"In recent years, we've seen an explosion of new information and communication technologies that have proven to be very effective in business settings," said project leader Clifford Lampe, assistant professor of information. "While some of these tools have been used in individual projects in government applications, there haven't been many systematic efforts to use new information tools to improve interactions between local governments and citizens.
"Our goal is to implement new information tools that help inform citizens, help them become engaged in local issues and get their feedback to policymakers in effective ways. We believe these efforts could revolutionize local citizenship."
While a few larger cities have attempted similar endeavors, Lampe says he knows of none in communities the size of Jackson, which has 33,000 residents. He hopes the project can serve as a model for other places. What makes Citizen Interaction Design especially unusual, officials say, is the sustained, three-year partnership between the university and the city.
"With this initiative, the city of Jackson is working to address 21st century challenges with 21st century solutions," said Derek Dobies, city council member and sponsor of the resolution supporting the project. "As the challenges for municipalities become more complex, we have to adapt and find new and better ways to interact with citizens."
Today, city officials typically communicate with residents on an individual basis through phone calls and emails, and in person at city meetings. By leveraging mobile, social and web-based platforms, Dobies hopes to broaden the conversation—reach more citizens, hear from more of them and engage in more two-way dialogues.
"After all, communication is the foundation of a strong democracy and a strong community," Dobies said.
Lampe says the U-M team is excited to work with Jackson.
"Jackson is in the midst of some changes in their planning, which creates a great context for these types of services," he said. "In addition, they have a rich civil society layer, and some excellent groups working together already. We see our role as making the collaboration between these citizens and their government more efficient."
Once approved, the project will begin immediately. The School of Information will hire a project manager and graduate students to work on projects over the summer. One goal for the summer would be to determine how Jackson's residents currently use information tools—how many use smartphones, for example.
The U-M team would also work closely with the city to identify needs and solutions that can be implemented in the short term. One example they would explore is a tool called Blight Status, an app or site that gives citizens easier access to information about properties the city is planning to rehabilitate or demolish. Another joint effort would involve strategizing about when and how to use social media to help get relevant information to Jackson citizens.
Over the course of the project, the team plans to develop close to a dozen different information tools. Not all of them would necessarily be high-tech, and they would be designed to fit the specific needs of people in Jackson. The primary responsibility for developing the apps would fall on the students who enroll in Lampe's Citizen Interaction Design course, which will be offered for the first time in January 2014. The U-M Ginsberg Center, which specializes in community-based learning, is also participating.
In the fall semester, the team would begin creating those early apps, conducting additional surveys and working closely with citizens and members of city government in Jackson.
The project is funded by the U-M School of Information: http://www.si.umich.edu
Citizen Interaction Design: http://umsi.info/cid
City of Jackson: http://www.cityofjackson.org
Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2013 15:10
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff Writer
The Community Coalition, a grassroots organization of Detroit residents and community activists, announced today it is throwing its full support behind Mike Duggan for Mayor. The group announced its endorsement at a large community fair on the grounds of New Bethel Baptist Church, which over the years has played an important role in the Civil Rights movement and Black political activism.
The Community Coalition was formed in the early 1990s and has been instrumental in the successful runs of several mayors, judges, state representatives, senators, county commissioners and governors. Its founder, Ernest Johnson, said the role of the Community Coalition is to carefully vet candidates looking to represent the residents of Detroit and endorse those who have the constituents’ best interests in mind. In this election, Johnson said that Duggan is the best choice to lead Detroit forward.
"When you look beyond where someone has lived and pay attention to what they have done throughout their career for Detroit, Mike Duggan is clearly the best person for the job," Johnson said. "Some people will call our endorsement a controversial choice, but it was an easy choice."
Johnson said he is committing the Coalition's resources to assist Duggan's field organization throughout the campaign.
Duggan said he has been greeted warmly by residents in every neighborhood of Detroit and is deeply appreciative of the Community Coalition's endorsement.
"There isn't an organization that is more grassroots and connected to every day Detroiters than the Community Coalition," Duggan said. "They are in the trenches every day fighting for meaningful progress that will improve the lives of all residents. I am honored they have entrusted me with their support."
Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2013 15:03
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Amber Bogins
(CNN) -- A man accused of kidnapping and holding captive three young women in his Cleveland house for 10 years will be arraigned this week on 329 counts.
Ariel Castro, 52, was indicted Friday in a case that shocked neighbors who never suspected anything out of the ordinary was going on in the house -- and prompted Castro's daughter to call him "the most evil, vile, demonic criminal."
One charge accuses Castro of aggravated murder for purposely causing the unlawful termination of a pregnancy, authorities said. One of the young women was allegedly impregnated five times by Castro, and another bore a child fathered by him, police have said.
The indictment charges Castro with 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault and one count of possession of criminal tools, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said in a statement.
Cop: Emotional moment when girls found 'I had no idea that little girl was his'
The charges cover only half of the 10 years the three young were held captive -- from August 2002, when the first of three women disappeared off a Cleveland street, to February 2007. The three women were freed last month after one shouted for help while Castro was gone from the house.
The prosecutor's capital review committee will consider whether the case is appropriate for seeking the death penalty once the indictment process is complete, the prosecutor's statement said.
"Today's indictments represent a first major step in the criminal justice process,'' McGinty said in a statement. "Our investigation continues, and we will present our findings to the grand jury.''
'Please don't let me go,' kidnapping victim told officers
The indictment alleges that Castro taped the legs and mouth of one woman identified as Jane Doe 2 and also chained her to a pole in the basement with a motorcycle helmet placed on her head.
Castro also allegedly used a vacuum cord around her neck during a felonious assault and chained her to inside of a van, the indictment said.
Castro allegedly used chains and tape in the basement to restrain another woman identified as Jane Doe 3, the indictment said.
Source: Michelle Knight was suspect's main 'punching bag'
The victims were earlier identified by police as Michelle Knight, abducted at age 21 in August 2002; Amanda Berry, abducted at age 16 in April 2003 and who has a 6-year-old daughter by Castro; and Georgina "Gina" DeJesus, who was 14 when kidnapped in 2004.
Jim Wooley, attorney for Berry and DeJesus, and Kathy Joseph, attorney for Michelle Knight, expressed satisfaction with the indictment.
"We have a great legal system, plus confidence and faith in the prosecutor's office and its decisions. Now, we need to stand back and let the judicial process unfold," the attorneys said in a statement.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2013 12:44
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by HLN, Graham Winch
HLN has covered the George Zimmerman case for more than a year now, reviewing and reporting on evidence since the very beginning.
The following documents may provide critical evidence in Zimmerman’s trial, scheduled to begin June 10.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for shooting Trayvon Martin Feb. 26, 2012. He says he shot the teenager in self-defense.
The police report
The police report in the Trayvon Martin shooting details the frantic moments when authorities arrived at the scene.
When the first officer arrived at the scene of the shooting, Zimmerman was in possession of a 9 mm handgun, was covered in grass, and was bleeding from his nose and the back of his head, according to the report.
The officer radioed that he was holding Zimmerman at gun point and that Martin was on the ground and had been shot. The report says Martin was wearing "a gray sweater, blue jeans and white/red sneakers laying face down on the ground" and had his hands underneath his body.
The probable cause affidavit [Warning: Explicit language]
The probable cause affidavit is the document that served as the basis for Zimmerman’s arrest.
The document walks through Zimmerman’s actions the night of the shooting, and how Zimmerman allegedly pursued the teenager, according to investigators.
“Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued,” reads the affidavit. “Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest. When police arrived Zimmerman admitted shooting Martin.”
The autopsy report
The autopsy report in the Trayvon Martin case says Martin died from a single gunshot wound to his chest. A toxicology report is also included in the autopsy, and it says Martin tested positive for the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, in his blood and urine.
Judge Debra Nelson has not ruled on whether evidence of Martin's THC blood levels will be admissible.
The autopsy lists Martin’s manner of death as homicide and says that he was “shot by another person.” The bullet penetrated Martin’s chest half an inch below his nipple, and there was no exit wound. The bullet pierced his lung and lodged in his heart.
Investigators examined the clothes Martin was wearing the night of the shooting, including his much-publicized hoodie.
The evidence from his clothes show:
Martin was actually wearing two sweatshirts the night he died. He was wearing a Nike sweatshirt under his Fruit of the Loom hoodie. The gunshot put holes in both sweatshirts.
The area around the gunshot had gunpowder residue and damage that was consistent with a direct shot from a short distance.
Investigators in the Zimmerman case shot a lot of photographs of the crime scene and of Zimmerman’s injuries, along with other evidence that could be critical to the trial.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2013 12:41
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by CNN
(CNN) -- Bouquets of flowers line the railing of the bridge above Bayou St. John in New Orleans.
Strangers throw rose petals into the water, or gather in circles -- hands clasped and heads bowed -- as they pray for Terrilyn Monette, a teacher missing for three months.
On Saturday, a diver with the Slidell Police Department -- volunteering to dive the waterways in the search for Monette -- found the teacher's Honda Accord in the bayou.
Inside was a decomposed body
While police believe it is that of Monette, they will await an autopsy Monday for a definite answer.
'I'm in shock'
Missing teacher's car found, body inside
Monette, 26, was last seen March 2 leaving Parlay's Dream Lounge in New Orleans, where she had been celebrating with friends her nomination for a "Teacher of the Year" award.
Monette's mother, Toni Enclade, told CNN that investigators have notified her the car has been found, but not whether the body is her daughter.
Mom: I'm in shock right now
"To know that she could have possibly been there for three months," she said, overcome with emotion.
Enclade said she does not know when she will be given a final answer.
"I can't even begin to go there right now," she said. "I'm in shock. I can't believe this. I just can't believe this."
Authorities have focused a large part of their search efforts on the waterways because Monette would have had to have driven across the bayou to get from the bar to her home.
A tireless search
In mid-March, an independent search and rescue team from Texas volunteer to comb the lagoons and waterways.
It discovered a car in the bayou, but it was later confirmed not to belong to Monette.
Family and friends of Monette put up a billboard in New Orleans and created a Facebook page, "We Love You Terrilynn Monette," to help generate tips in the search for Monette.
The diver who found the car and body, Slidell Police Officer Mark Michaud, has been "working closely with the Monette family" because of his expertise in diving recoveries, police Detective Daniel Seuzeneau said.
When Monette, of Long Beach, California, learned of the "teachNOLA" program, which sends educators to New Orleans to teach in impoverished areas, she packed her bags and headed to Louisiana.
"I always wanted to be a teacher, and what better place to teach than New Orleans, where passionate teachers are needed most?" she said in a 2011 video obtained by CNN affiliate WDSU.
In her first year of teaching second grade at Woodland West Elementary School, Monette turned one of the lowest-performing classes into one of the highest achieving.
It earned her a "Teacher of the Year" nomination in her school district.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2013 12:29
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Amber Bogins
Office will house 75 staffers and be firm's 7th office in SE Michigan
Plante Moran, one of the nation's largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms, announced Thursday it is opening an office in Detroit in the Compuware building.
"We are very pleased to be joining other businesses who have committed to the city of Detroit," said Gordon Krater, Plante Moran's managing partner. "There is an excitement and vitality about the city. Good things are happening, and we are proud to be a part of it. Plante Moran staff is spending more time downtown working with public and private sector organizations.
"Coupled with our nearly 10 percent growth in staff in southeast Michigan in the last 15 months and our need for more office space, it just makes sense to open our next office in downtown Detroit. It will also help us better attract professionals who want to be part of the urban work environment as we continue to expand our team."
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said: "This is great news for the city of Detroit. We welcome Plante Moran to its new downtown offices. This is another example of the business community's commitment to transforming our city."
The new office will house approximately 75 staff. It will occupy 15,000 square feet on the third floor of the Compuware building. The Detroit office will be the firm's seventh office in southeast Michigan.
Plante Moran's other area offices are located in Ann Arbor, Auburn Hills, Flint, Macomb and two in Southfield. The official move-in date is scheduled for the fall.
Krater mentioned a number of businesses and individuals who have led the way in Detroit's revitalization, including Dan Gilbert and Rock Ventures, Peter Karmanos Jr. and Compuware, the Ilitch and Ford families, Strategic Staffing Solutions, General Motors Co., Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Urban Science and DTE Energy.
"Plante Moran becomes the next important and credible company in the drumbeat of top-notch firms, retailers and entrepreneurs who are finding opportunity in downtown Detroit. When a leader like Plante Moran makes this kind of move, the confidence level of the business community is strengthened even further," said Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans.
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 June 2013 15:00
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