Category: News Briefs - Original Written by RJ Barnhill
I often find myself thinking up quirky titles and headlines for my lifestyle pieces. (See "Fringe Fest," "Hat-titude" and other bits of awesome tidbits that I've concocted.)
However today my creative juices were in over drive. As I skimmed through the Huffington Post article about the massive Wayne County Jail Fail and its budget woes, I had an awesome thought.
What if Dan Gilbert bought the half built debacle and turned it into a hotel, named, wait for it -- "The Pen." Get it? As in penitentiary! Genius, right?
Now, I know Dan Gilbert does not suffer from a shortage of great ideas and I'm sure has something in the works, but I'm sticking my flag on this one.
Just think, the infrastructure and plans are already half way there. I imagine cells are a lot like hotel rooms sans the windows, privacy, and mini shampoos -- well OK, not exactly like hotel rooms but you see where I'm going with this.
In addition to having an interesting back story "The Pen" would have tons of cheeky amenities. Soap-on-Rope, striped sheets and a hotel bar named "The Clink" are on my list so far. Again, all genius ideas.
More than anything, "The Pen" would be a neat boutique hotel in the heart of the city, that served as a constant lesson for elected officials: Don't bite off more than you can chew.
While I could go on for hours doing this, I wouldn't want to give away too much.
Dan, let me know when you are ready to meet. I'll bring the donuts.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 June 2013 18:33
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
DTE Energy provides summer cooling tips to save money
DETROIT – As the summer cooling season is upon us, DTE Energy reminds its customers that although the weather can impact your energy use, there are some simple ways to lower your electric bill.
The average homeowner spends about $1,900 a year on energy costs, with summer cooling contributing a large part to the total. Of all your summer electric use, air conditioning is the number one cause of higher energy bills.
But whether you run air conditioning or fans to prevent that hot-weather meltdown, DTE Energy has some high bill-busting tips to help you stay comfortable without overloading your checking account:
Increase your thermostat setting. For every degree you increase your thermostat above 72 degrees, you’ll reduce your cooling costs by up to 3 percent. Better yet, install a programmable thermostat and let it automatically adjust the setting for you– and apply for a $10 rebate! Find out how at dteenergy.com/energystar.
Change or clean your furnace filter once a month. A dirty filter restricts airflow and can cause your air condition unit to run longer. Vacuum registers and vents regularly, and don't let furniture and draperies block the air flow.
Use ceiling fans to assist your air conditioning. Set them to run counter-clockwise (or downward air flow), which provides better air circulation. Remember to turn them off when you leave the room.
Close blinds, draperies and shades on windows facing the sun to block out the heat, and wait until cooler times of the day to run your dishwasher or clothes dryer.
Join DTE Energy’s CoolCurrents® program for cost-saving, central air conditioning comfort. This program can reduce summer cooling costs by up to 12 percent. Find out more at dteenergy.com/coolcurrents.
Have your central air conditioning unit tuned-up by a professional, plus clear away weeds and debris so that air can circulate freely around the unit.
Recycle that spare refrigerator in your garage or basement. DTE Energy will pick it up at no cost, plus, you’ll get a $40 rebate and you’ll save on average $150 in energy costs per year! See details at dteenergy.com/recycle.
One last tip – Be sure to drink plenty of fluids in hot weather and enjoy the summer!
You can find more cooling tips at dteenergy.com/summer
For further information, members of the media may contact:
Scott Simons, DTE Energy, (313) 235-8808
Alejandro Bodipo-Memba, DTE Energy, (313) 235-3202
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 June 2013 14:33
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by EAA
The Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (EAA) recently announced the student assessment results, which showed significant growth in students and proved that the student-centered learning approach is working.
“The scores are phenomenal and impressive. Students have responded enthusiastically to the new blended, student-centered approach to education,” said EAA Chancellor Dr. John Wm. Covington. “They are showing they want to learn and can learn given the right environment. They are closing the educational gap.”
The tests, administered in late April and early May in the 12 direct-run EAA schools, show that 56 percent of students already have achieved one or more year’s growth in reading and 44 percent have achieved two or more years’ growth. In math, 65 percent of students achieved one full year’s growth, and 48 percent achieved two full years’ growth.
These scores are an increase from the growth experienced by students in the earlier tests administered in late January and early February when 27 percent of students had achieved one or more year’s growth in reading and 22 percent in mathematics.
The most significant growth in reading at the high school level came at Central Collegiate Academy; where reading proficiency scores show that 62 percent of students have already achieved two or more years’ growth. The most significant growth at the elementary/middle level came at Nolan Elementary/Middle School, where 36 percent of students had achieved two or more years’ growth in reading whilst 23 percent having achieved between one and two year’s growth.
The most significant growth in mathematics performance at the high school level was also at Central where 84 percent of students tested achieved two or more years’ growth, and another 2 percent had a full year’s growth by the end of April. Phoenix Multicultural Academy had the most significant growth at the elementary/middle school level with 48 percent of students achieving two or more years’ growth and an additional 25 percent having achieved between one and two years’ growth.
A year’s growth is equivalent to the number of skills a student learns in a traditional school year as determined by a national sample.
"Students are making gains every day, some on small levels and others on greater levels," said Mary Esselman, Deputy Chancellor, Instructional Support and Instructional Accountability.
“My daughter and I both love her school, Nolan Elementary/Middle School,” said parent volunteer Sheri Stovall. “I have watched my daughter achieve so much this year. Her reading test scores have skyrocketed and she loves to read all the time now. With the student-centered learning model, she gets to keep moving up in levels when she masters the material so she hasn’t been getting bored or losing focus, which helps her achieve even more.”
Esselman said that many parents and students are thrilled with the outcome of student-centered learning.
“My math and reading scores have improved and it makes me feel like I’m really learning,” said Jordan Cook, 11, a student at Brenda Scott Elementary/Middle School. “I like being able to work at my own pace.”
"We are able to continue adjusting their learning plans according to their learning needs so that each student continues to experience gains," Esselman said. "We are projecting that the majority of students will be on target to have closed their achievement gap by one year or more by June. We are especially pleased that no student will fail; students, in large part because of the extended school year, will continue to work toward mastery and growth.
"The schools admitted into the EAA were in the lowest of the 5 percent of Persistently Lowest Achieving schools in the State,” Covington added. “This new data shows that these students now are learning. These schools have gone from a pattern of failing children to educating children. Students are catching up. We are working to get as many students at grade level and to make sure students who need more time are getting the attention needed.”
Students achieving gains in individual growth in the 12 direct run EAA schools are as follows:
Reading 2 yrs or more 1.5 years 1 year Total 1 yr
Elementary/Middle growth growth growth or more
Brenda Scott Elem/Middle 39% 8% 10% 57%
Burns Elem/Middle School 26% 7% 7% 42%
Law Academy 43% 5% 6% 55%
Mary M. Bethune Elem/Middle 31% 6% 11% 49%
Nolan Elem/Middle School 36% 9% 14% 59%
Phoenix Multicultural Academy 40% 6% 7% 53%
Central Collegiate Academy 62% 2% 0% 64%
Denby High School 47% 2% 2% 51%
Henry Ford High School 52% 3% 2% 57%
Mumford High School 43% 3% 2% 48%
Pershing High School 54% 1% 1% 56%
Southeastern High School 50% 2% 2% 54%
Math 2 yr or more 1.5 year 1 year Total 1 yr
Elementary/Middle growth growth growth or more
Brenda Scott Elem/Middle 37% 11% 15% 63%
Burns Elem/Middle School 26% 9% 15% 50%
Law Academy 33% 12% 12% 57%
Mary M. Bethune Elem/Middle 33% 9% 13% 55%
Nolan Elem/Middle School 25% 11% 16% 52%
Phoenix Multicultural Academy 48% 9% 16% 73%
Central Collegiate Academy 84% 1% 1% 86%
Denby High School 67% 3% 1% 71%
Henry Ford High School 64% 4% 3% 71%
Mumford High School 64% 2% 2% 68%
Pershing High School 68% 2% 3% 73%
Southeastern High School 61% 3% 3% 67%
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 June 2013 09:30
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Huffington Post
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has agreed with a five-member review team that the city of Hamtramck is in the midst of a financial emergency, according to a statement released on Monday.
The independent review team released a report on May 23 following a request from Hamtramck city officials.
Last Updated on Monday, 03 June 2013 18:28
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Curbed Detroit
As Wayne County's overbudget tab for that new downtown prison gains additional commas, the idea of simply giving up has gained some traction. Turns out, there's already an empty prison over on Mound Road owned by the state. It might—might!—make more sense to stuff the prisoners in there rather than spend $300M to build a new jail in downtown Detroit. Too bad no one had their thinking caps on two years ago, when the state offered to sell Wayne County that prison for a mere $1.5M. Live and learn, right?
The Detroit News predicts that throwing in the towel would mean demolishing the partially built prison, which--at over $100M invested so far--would make it something like the world's priciest sand castle. Adding to the hilarity, Wayne County would probably end up selling the land to Greektown Casino, the very entity they bought it from in 2011.
Even if abandoning the prison would be quite a financial loss, downtown Detroit would be the better for it. We'll have to see how this one plays out, but let's close by reflecting on the fact that Wayne County Sheriff/Mayoral candidate Benny Napoleon's fingerprints are all over this project, which has actually been scaled down from the orgy of private bathrooms and tablet computers he originally wanted it to be.
Last Updated on Monday, 03 June 2013 18:17
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Amber Bogins
Detroit's inter-faith community leaders are staking a claim in the political process that will define the next leadership of Detroit, by sponsoring a mayoral debate June 4, 6pm at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church on 5251 East Outer Drive in Detroit.
The debate will feature candidates running for mayor of Detroit including former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, State Rep Lisa Howze, State Rep Fred Durhal and Tom Barrow.
The candidates will face questions from the two moderators of the evening Mildred Gaddis, Host of "Inside Detroit" on AM1200 (Radio One) and Bankole Thompson, Editor of the Michigan Chronicle.
The role of faith in Detroit's political and economic development has been a conversation in the political world in the city as Detroit struggles to find new leadership.
Rev Tellis Chapman, Senior Pastor of New Galilee Baptist Church, and Moses, an organization of ecumenical ministers are hosting Tuesday night's debate to further enhance the role of faith and the clergy on public policy issues.
Last Updated on Monday, 03 June 2013 09:50
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony
Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevin Orr was doing all right until he obviously, to some, “stepped
outta line.” Talking about a Pandora’s Box being opened, here is one. If ever there was a case of
political hypocrisy and blatant demagoguery, it is in the State of Michigan by those who originally
cheered for and legislated into action Michigan’s new misguided Emergency Manager Law.
As cries of, “how dare you even consider selling our art” are loudly heard throughout the state, with
threats of no new art for Detroit in the air, it’s now on and popping. The behavior, and verbal (dare I
say it protests), of many ought to at least be consistent with those who have declared the unfairness
of this process from day one.
The great French writer of “Democracy in America,” Alexis de Tocqueville must be leaping in his
grave. As he said years ago, “The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic
paint but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colors breaking through.”
Everyone heard Kevin Orr and Governor Rick Snyder (the real Emergency Manager) both declare that
everything was on the table in order to bring the City of Detroit back to financial stability. No they
didn’t just say cutting workers’ salaries, health care, pension benefits, police and fire, or selling Belle
Isle and the Water Department. In my neighborhood “everythang means everythang.”
Randy Richardville, Republican leader from Monroe, the great champion of Emergency Managers,
who pushed hard for an Emergency Manager for the city of Detroit and helped to craft the
Emergency Manager Law, now has a major problem. His problem lies in the fact that the Emergency
Manager has said that everything must be on the table. Even Picasso, Renoir, Van Gogh, Rembrandt
and all the other fellas and ladies on the walls of the DIA. Mr. Richardville has now introduced an
amendment requiring art museums to follow the standards of public trusts governing museums
such as the DIA.
This was done faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than 2.3 million Michiganders who said
no, and he was able to leap over democracy in a single night. Richardville even said at the recent
Mackinaw Conference, “We can’t let somebody take our best stuff away.” Lord have mercy! As the
saying goes, everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die--hmmm.
It’s all right to take the Water Department. It’s all right to take Belle Isle. It’s all right to take our
voting rights. It’s all right to damn the people but at the same time long live Picasso! I like good art
just like everyone else. As a matter of fact, I supported the recent millage along with the members
of my church and the people throughout Wayne County. We believe in protecting the jewels of
Detroit. Yet we also believe in protecting the rights of the people, preserving families, creating jobs
and ensuring our right to vote for our own elected officials.
I’m told that the high talk at Mackinaw Island wasn’t on the subject of who would be the next Mayor
of the City of Detroit or the educational achievements of the students in the Detroit Public School
System, rather it was on keep your hands off of our art. This does not sound very much like shared
sacrifice to me. It does not sound like everyone is at the same table to me. Why must the pain and
the sacrifice always be made by the poor and those not wealthy enough to impact and influence
those political leaders who have the authority to make laws governing their lives?
Many of the same people who were high-fiving when Kevin Orr was brought into Detroit by the
Governor and Andy Dillon are now turning a thumbs down on his work. This has a potential to
create one of the most visible and wide spread divisions within our community. It is a visible
indication of those who are not concerned about the creation of two communities. Those
communities are one of the haves and the have-nots. Many will say that they are already here.
At this kind of political chicanery and hypocrisy, selectivity does nothing but widen the breach of
race, class, and culture. It is an example of an arbitrariness and capriciousness of intent on the part
of those who put art over people, material things over spiritual values, and culture over civility. This
does not mean that I do not support the arts. My home and my church are both filled with
representations of cultures and art from more than one source. But I am not willing to declare that
in a war of economic survival, art on the wall and animals in the zoo must be preserved. Certainly
not at the expense of the Water Department and the iconic family area of relaxation and celebration
known as Belle Isle. Surely Michigan can do better than this. This is why we must look to real
alternatives to stabilize our economy, bring in new revenue, and to draw in new citizens to our city.
As the cloud of bankruptcy hangs over the head of the City of Detroit, let us realize that every time
we announce these kinds of measures, people who would contribute to Michigan pull back.
When an Emergency Manager was first appointed for the City the word was who would want to invest
in the City of Detroit now? Well guess what? As the potential for the selling of art in the DIA was
announced, the word is who would want to donate their art work to the DIA now?
Shades of Marie Antoinette, to whom many attribute the infamous words, “Let them eat cake!‘
Perhaps she has come back now to sit on the throne here in the State of Michigan.
Last Updated on Monday, 03 June 2013 08:04
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Jesse Jackson
Without vision, the Bible teaches, the people perish. And in Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Newark and cities across the country, the people are perishing.
Each week in Chicago, we witness more pain. Teachers are laid off and schools are closed. Transit workers are terminated and bus service is cut. Families lose their homes, and thousands remain underwater, unable to refinance mortgages greater than the worth of their home. Hospital budgets are shut, and costs go up. Summer Pell grants are cut, and students drop out into an economy with no jobs. Schools cut athletics and music and afterschool programs, and can't understand why more students drop out. Parking meters are sold off, and parking becomes unaffordable.
In the pain, we start turning on each other. Parents revolt as administrators pretend that school closings are progressive reforms. Teachers strike against schools without adequate textbooks or libraries. Banks hound homeowners to collect on subprime loans that were peddled fraudulently by agents who targeted African Americans and Latinos for higher rates. The cities head into a hot summer with more unemployed youth, fewer summer programs, fewer jobs programs, less hope and more dope.
The supposed recovery hasn't reached the people. The new jobs offer less pay, less security and fewer benefits than the ones that were lost. African-American families lost nearly a third of their wealth between 2007 and 2010. (Hispanic families lost more than 40 percent). A fragile middle class has been devastated. Investors and corporate CEOs clean up. The top 1 percent have captured all of the income growth over the first two years coming out of the recession and then some.
We cannot cut our way to a prosperous economy or a healthy city. We can't cut our way to good schools, safe streets or affordable health care. We have to find another way.
In Washington, investigations reveal how Apple and other corporations transfer billions abroad to avoid paying taxes. Apple's CEO says this is all at least arguably legal. What he doesn't say is that the companies spend millions on lobbyists and campaign contributions to rig the rules. We don't have that power. We must see our way through -- and mobilize people to act.
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is sparring with teachers, transit workers, parents, students, the young and the old. If the city doesn't blow, some say he might profit politically by looking tough. But that won't revive the city. No one will gain or profit morally by looking tough.
It would be wise if President Barack Obama and Emanuel convened a summit to create a prototype for urban policy. A meeting of stakeholders and key leaders from HUD, the Department of Justice, the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. The aim would be to put forth a vision of what must be done, a plan for how to do it, and a budget that lays out the costs. We should make this a model for cities across the country.
The summit should assess the assets of Chicago -- not simply our budget and tax base, but also public pension funds, what the government, hospitals and universities buy, and how we can use that money to anchor our economy -- and put people to work. It should lay out what we expect from the state and the federal government -- and what it will cost to rebuild the public sinews of our economy -- from schools to public transit to hospitals to training. It should pave the way for robust urban development.
It's time for vision, for a plan, for some hope. Let's have the summit before the city explodes, not after.
Last Updated on Friday, 31 May 2013 11:29
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
Have you ever heard of Scleroderma? If you are a black woman of childbearing age, you need to find out. According to the Scleroderma Foundation, African-Americans in that group are 15 times more likely to contract the disease than Caucasians. The disease occurs when a person's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy tissue in the body.
The month of June is Scleroderma Awareness Month. Here in Detroit, one group hopes to bring attention to the disease, it’s symptoms and affects on the body. The Miss Lu Foundation, established by Lu Brooks, is sponsoring Ladies Let’s Live!, a “Beauty Breakfast and Fashion Show” on Saturday, June 1 to benefit the Scleroderma Foundation of Michigan.
There are two forms of the disease, localized and systematic. Localized affects only the skin. The systematic form can affect any part of the body (skin, muscles, blood vessels and internal organs).
In the United States alone, an estimated 300,000 people suffer from the disease. Of that number, experts say a good percentage, one-third of those affected by the systematic form, are African-American.
“I was extremely tired in the early nineties and noticed spots on my fingers, but no doctor could tell me what it all stemmed from,” says Miss Lu, hostess of the Ladies Let’s Live event. After being misdiagnosed several times, the culprit was finally identified. I wasn’t diagnosed with Scleroderma until 2008, after I was asked to see a rheumatologist,” added Miss Lu.
The June 1 event, taking place at Burton Manor in Livonia, will bring together women from all walks of life. The goal is provide an environment where they can learn, get and give support, enjoy national speakers and celebrate all aspects of beauty, confidence, generosity and perseverance that makes women beautiful.
Harriet Goodall, a senior citizen who lives in Detroit, was diagnosed in 1999 and was only given five years to live at the time. Today, she lives with the disease and has hopes research and awareness will lead to a solution for sufferers. “I just want to live to see a cure,” she says.
Since the disease can potentially affect internal organs, there is a risk of mortality with the Systematic form of the disease. The good news is that with advances in diagnosis and treatment, those affected can potentially live as long as someone without the disease.
When asked why she decided to put on this event, Miss Lu said, “Everybody I talked to had never heard about this disease, so I want people to be aware of it so at least it would be known.”
Ladies Let’s Live includes health and fitness tips, beauty bags and prizes. Also, nationally-known speakers and entertainers including saxophonist Yancyy, Oprah Winfrey Popstar winner LaShell Renee, former Miss USA winner, Carole Gist, and national speaker and author, Kim Brooks, are scheduled to be there to uplift and encourage those that attend.
Ladies Let’s Live! Beauty Breakfast and Fashion Show is taking place on Saturday, June 1 from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM at Burton Manor, 27777 Schoolcraft Rd, Livonia, MI 48150. Tickets for the fund-raising event are available at Baker’s Bible and Bookstore, 10200 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48204 or Truth Bookstore inside Northland mall or online at http://www.beautybreakfast.eventbrite.com Call 1-313-757-0345 for more info.
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 15:56
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Amber Bogins
Senator Tupac A. Hunter (D-Detroit) introduced legislation today that would give local governments the power to regulate the use of fireworks any time every day of the year. While Michigan law was amended to expand the sale and use of once-illegal fireworks in the state, there are currently no state laws that regulate their use the day before, the day of, and the day after federal holidays.
“Fireworks in Michigan should be used for celebrating, not disturbing the peace, and this bill will help balance that,” said Senator Hunter. “Without any current local or state regulation on when and where these loud and dangerous fireworks can be used during the holiday period, Michigan’s fireworks law is creating a nuisance for many local communities. My bill would allow local governments to regulate the use of these high-powered fireworks in their jurisdictions on any day and at any time.”
Currently, state law allows local governments to regulate the use of fireworks 335 days out of the year, with the ten federal holidays and the days before and after them constituting an amnesty period where they can be used regulation-free. Senator Hunter’s bill would give local municipalities the power to regulate the use of these fireworks any time on those days, enabling them to oversee the use of fireworks year-round.
“Our current state law has been allowing a fireworks free-for-all under the guise of celebration, and I have heard from many seniors, working men and women and parents in my district asking for something to be done. During these thirty days, they currently have no recourse to prevent the use—and many times, abuse--of fireworks in their neighborhoods, and that needs to be addressed. This legislation would create an avenue for local government to regulate the use of these fireworks in order to uphold the rights and address the concerns of everyone involved.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 13:30
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