Category: Breaking News Written by The Huffington Post
Sports team owner and pizza billionaire Mike Ilitch wants to carve out another slice of downtown Detroit. Officials from Ilitich's Olympia Development company shared plans with state legislators Tuesday to develop a downtown district that would be comprised of residential, retail and office facilities and anchored by "a new state-of-the-art, multi-purpose events center."
The new events center could be home to a new hockey arena thought to be in the works for the Detroit Red Wings.
The development would create an estimated 5,500 jobs for the events center alone and about 8,300 jobs total, according to an Olympia Development release. The company estimates the economic impact will be $1.8 billion for the state of Michigan. The development would cost approximately $650 million and would be financed with both public and private funds.
A Senate committee is currently considering House Bill 5463, which would amend the city's Downtown Development Authority Act. Under the legislation "a downtown development authority would be exempt from all taxation on its earnings or property, and instruments of conveyance from a DDA would be exempt from transfer taxes," according to a Senate Fiscal Analysis.
Ilitich founded the Little Caesars Pizza chain with his wife Marian Ilitch and owns both the Detroit Tigers baseball team and the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. The family has an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion, according to Forbes.
In 1987 he bought the dilapidated Fox Theatre and later restored it at a time when there were few development projects downtown.
“It’s always been my dream to once again see a vibrant downtown Detroit,” Ilitch said. “From the time we bought the Fox Theatre, I could envision a downtown where the streets were bustling and people were energized. It’s going to happen and I want to keep us moving toward that vision.”
An exact location for the development has not yet been determined. The company states that it would be strategically placed to serve "underutilized areas in Detroit’s downtown core" and create a "continuous, walkable environment" connecting existing Detroit assets.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 December 2012 08:59
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) When your moniker is Flavor Flav, you can do three things: perform rap songs, star on reality TV, or start a restaurant. After tackling the first two, one of rap’s biggest old-school stars is going for the third.
Flavor Flav’s Chicken & Ribs is coming to metro Detroit with a grand opening scheduled for December 16, according to the chain’s Facebook page. Flavor Flav’s, described on Twitter as “a quick serve dining experience with 5 star quality” will be located at 8200 15 Mile Road, Sterling Heights.
“Flavor Flav’s Chicken & Ribs would like to congratulate all of our new employees that attended employee orientation over the weekend,” the Facebook page says. “We had a great day meeting everyone and preparing for our Grand Opening in 2 weeks.
“There is no question we have the best staff in Metro Detroit, and with hard work and dedication we will all succeed in every way possible.”
Flavor Flav opened his first restaurants in Clinton, Iowa, and then Las Vegas, with a signature array of fried chicken, biscuits, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and cole slaw — and both closed within six months.
The rapper promoted his Las Vegas outpost this summer in an unusual way, jumping onto the intercom of a flight he was on and telling visitors to stop in, according to celeb-watching website TMZ.
“Hey yo check this out, also, just to let y’all know I do have a restaurant, it’s called Flavor Flav’s House of Flavors…it’s a takeout restaurant. We got fried chicken, collard greens, potato salad, coleslaw, and red velvet waffles, yeah G. We be getting it in,” he said, per audio on Eater. “Check this out, though, I just want to say good luck to everybody with your life, your future, your goals.” And, you know, hopefully your future has some fried chicken in it.”
So, will he succeed in metro Detroit? Only time will tell, like a giant clock ticking on, say, a necklace.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reviewed the first restaurant and found it somewhat lacking, writing the chicken and shrimp-focused restaurant was out of shrimp when they visited and the chicken had no flavor.
“Our meals also came with cups of Tabasco-esque hot sauce, so maybe that’s supposed to be the source of the flavor, but if so, somebody doesn’t get it,” the review said.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 14:13
Category: Breaking News Written by Mark Brush, Michigan radio
The former Detroit Science Center closed its doors in September of 2011. Earlier this year, there were reports that the Center could be liquidated so that creditors could recoup some of their losses.
$10 million was sought at the time to cover debts and operating expenses.
Today, the Center has a new name "The Michigan Science Center," and the new owners are expected to announce plans for reopening today.
The Detroit News reports the Center was rescued in July:
At a public auction in July, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, Ron Weiser, agreed to buy the land, building and its contents from Citizens Bank.
In the deal, Weiser would sell the land, building and contents to the newly constituted science center for what he paid Citizens — substantially less than the total debt owed the bank — and absorb associated legal costs.
His conditions required that the science center be debt-free, that it raise money to reopen and operate and expand its educational mission.
The center's fundraisers have a $5 million goal.
The News reports the Center has received contributions from from the GM Foundation, Lear Corp., ITC Holdings, the Manoogian Fund, the DTE Energy Foundation and the Penske Corp., and the Toyota Technical Center.
The Michigan Science Center is hiring. Those interested in applying for positions can go to the Science Center's website.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 12:21
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - A Detroit father has been sentenced to mandatory life in prison, convicted in the death and disappearance of his young daughter.
Prosecutors said D’Andre Lane faked a carjacking to cover up the slaying of Bianca Jones, 2.
Lane continues to vehemently deny any wrongdoing.
“I just wanna say, first and foremost, I did not murder my child; I did not abuse my child. I love all of my children — all of them,” Lane said in court on Monday.
Lane said there is “no proof whatsoever” that Bianca was killed. Her body has not been found.
“You’re the only ones who said she’s dead. No one got on that stand and said she’s dead. No one said they found evidence that proved she’s dead,” he said. “But I understand — this is what you need. You need a conviction; you need somebody to take the fall; you need somebody to take the blame.”
Wayne County Circuit Judge Vonda Evans called Lane a man who likes to control others but is unable to control himself.
“You figured that (in) a city plagued with violence, understaffed by police, who would care about the disappearance of your child? But you were wrong,” Evan said.
As he was led from the courtroom, Lane called the judge “a liar,” a remark that made her furious.
“It’s very unfortunate that you made that statement, but I’m going to attribute it to the fact that you’re a person that is suffering very deeply because of what you’ve done,” said Evans. ”Take him out of here … Take him out! Take him out!”
A jury convicted Lane on Oct. 12 of first degree murder and child abuse.
Lane told police that Bianca was in the back seat of his car in Detroit’s North End neighborhood on Dec. 2, 2011, when the vehicle was taken at gunpoint. The car was found less than an hour later, but Bianca was no longer inside.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors painted Lane as an abusive father who was obsessed with potty training his children. Prosecutors alleged Lane beat Bianca to death after she wet herself, covered her body with a blanket and put her in her car seat. They said he then drove Bianca’s siblings to school before dumping her body.
The child’s mother, Banika Jones, said she believes her daughter was kidnapped and is still alive.
“I feel like we’ve been greatly wronged; that we have never been considered the innocent victims that we truly were,” she told reporters outside the courthouse. ”From the very beginning this case we never about looking for my daughter, but about apprehending the guy that they knew did it even thought the evidence never pointed to that.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 12:16
Category: News Briefs Written by Meg Urisko, thehuffingtonpost
On November 24, at Cass and Peterboro, Detroit's Chinatown, 100 Flying Paper Lanterns were launched into the sky. Flying lanterns were first used during the third century in China as a signal during battles, but eventually came to be used in festivals to signify good luck and new beginnings. The event was organized by Bianca Ibarlucea, a Wayne State University Junior, for a class led by visiting artist Fritz Haeg and sculpture professor Eric Troffkin.
"Living on Peterboro inspired this project," Ibarlucea said.
At night, I see things like people selling crack right in front of my car. Midtown is the one of the safest neighborhoods in Detroit but crime still happens, especially where street lights are out. The problem is worse in other neighborhoods -- current figures estimate that around 20 percent of Detroit's lighting infrastructure does not work, and in some areas that number may be as high as 50 percent. This means that all over the city, when the sun goes down the streets go dark. After the lighting bills died in the State Senate this fall, I decided to combine art with activism, and create a project that would amplify the voice of Detroiters as they call on elected officials to resolving the lighting issue.
Politicians can't keep hoping someone else comes along and fixes this. Those opposed to the current plan should be coming up with alternatives, and those in support of it should be out explaining why it is the best option. This problem needs a solution now.
As lanterns floated in the cold night sky carrying wishes for a brighter future in Detroit, their release also evoked the city's past. Detroit's Chinatown, once a vibrant community, would have held festivals with flying lanterns. Sadly, Detroit's Chinatown is no more and its existence has been largely forgotten. According to the Detroit Historical Society, which did an exhibition on Detroit's Chinatown in 2009:
Detroit's Chinatown began when Chinese laundrymen first settled in the city at Third Ave. and Porter St. in 1872. A new wave of immigrants led by five Chinese families opened restaurants, groceries, and a Chinese school between 1910 and the late 1950s. In 1963, Chinatown relocated to Cass Ave. and Peterboro St., where it experienced some success before political and social changes led to its demise in 1987.
"The construction of the Lodge forced the relocation of Chinatown, which the Detroit Housing Commission had declared a 'slum,'" explains Ibarlucea.
Many residents moved to the suburbs, leading gradually to the demise of the city's Chinese community. The neighborhood was seen as undesirable in the face of progress and growth. As investors consider the construction of a new hockey stadium not far from the abandoned streets of Chinatown, I want people to think about the effects this project could have on the neighborhood and its current inhabitants.
An exhibition documenting the event will be held at MOCAD on December 9th. Ibarlucea hopes to organize more lantern launches, providing a way for the people of Detroit to show elected officials that getting the lights back on is a top priority for their city.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 10:08
Category: News Briefs Written by Beth Fisher, wwj
DETROIT (WWJ) - Challenge Detroit is a group of 30 of the best and brightest young people working to solve some of the problems facing Detroit.
Betsy Berens, 22, is a part of this elite group working to solve problems like how to make fresh food more available to Detroiters and how to retain international students in the city.
“There are really interesting solutions that people have come up with so far, and it’s really great to have people come together and kind of put their brains together and figure out new ideas and bounce ideas off of each other,” Berns said.
Berens, a journalism grad from the University of Wisconsin, told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Beth Fisher she’s enjoying living in Detroit.
“I like that I’m in walkable distance to coffee shops and where I work and places to go out at night. I feel safe and it’s been really great not to use my car,” she said.
Berens is working for Marketing Associates and hopes to stay in Detroit once her year in the program is complete. “It would definitely be difficult to leave just seeing all the changes that I’ve seen so far and being so invested in community development.
“It’s a good kind of different — everything’s changing and there are new things happening every day. So, even in the past few months since I’ve moved here I’ve seen a lot of changes,” Berens said.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 09:42
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) – Mike Tyson will bring the one man-show about his life to Detroit next spring, with a stop at the Fox Theatre in April.
The former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and record holder as the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles, Tyson says he looks forward to coming to Detroit with its boxing history.
“I’m ready to come to Detroit – Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson – gotta represent that,” said Tyson.
He paid a special tribute to the late Emmanuel Steward.
“He had the best gym because he had them all in the same gym boxing one another,” said Tyson. “His amateur team was always the best amateur team in the world because he had them boxing the great fighters. He was just the man.”
Tyson says the show is an honest look at his life…that is sometimes painful to re-enact.
“It’s true … it hurts, it does really hurt. And the stuff that hurts the most the crowd laughs at – and that takes me back – a certain point in my life that destroyed me — “and that’s funny to you,”" said Tyson.
He says he got the idea while watching “A Bronx Tale” on Broadway. “Mike Tyson: Undisputed” is directed by Spike Lee.
Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth will be at the Fox Theatre April 6, 2013
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 14:16
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit City Council and the mayor’s staff are meeting Tuesday morning to avoid their own version of the fiscal cliff.
Council President Charles Pugh says they want to hear exactly where city hall’s stands on the money, what they have left, and what’s the mayor game plan, that includes more furlough days and layoffs.
Pugh says the council’s fiscal analysts have come up with a plan to avoid bankruptcy and an emergency manager that would see more layoffs, pay cuts and city workers paying more for health care. He also wants what he calls more substance and the truth behind the Miller Canfield contract tied to $30 million in bond funding for Detroit.
Financial analysts have said the city, which carries a budget deficit of more than $200 million, could run out of cash before the end of the year.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 09:32
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - A special mass is being held at Detroit Catholic Central High School Tuesday morning after one of the school’s star athletes apparently died in his sleep.
Fifteen-year-old David Widzinski died sometime Sunday night or Monday morning. His cause of death is listed as unknown.
“We don’t know how David died. He simply did not wake up yesterday morning. Tragic and devastating to our school community. He was a great young man from a great family,” a school official told WXYZ.
The sophomore helped lead the football team into its second straight MHSAA Division 1 championship game last month. Despite the middle linebacker’s team-leading 15 tackles, the Shamrocks lost to Detroit Cass Tech 36-21 in the state finals.
Senior Alex Iovan said Widzinski was not only his teammate, he was one of his best friends.
“David was just a really great kid. I just, this really doesn’t deserve to happen to him. I’m just at a loss. I really don’t know why this happened,” Iovan told WWJ’s Mike Campbell.
In a statement on the school’s website, Father John Huber, C.S.B. principal said “The hearts of our CC community have been tugged in several different and painful directions over this past year.
“We are confident in the prayers, love and support of the greater community, as we have already experienced over this past year. We are grateful for the prayers and love of students and families from our fellow Catholic, public and private schools: you are good friends.”
Several Shamrocks coaches, students and teachers are Tweeting about Widzinski’s death. The hashtags #PrayfortheWidzinskis, #RIPDavid and #CCFamily were all trending Tuesday morning.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 09:24
Category: News Briefs Written by Florence Walton, WWJ
HIGHLAND PARK (WWJ) – Budget problems forced the city of Highland Park to lose two-thirds of its street lights but some people refuse to be left in the dark.
It’s been nearly two weeks since a solar street light was installed in Highland Park. One of the people behind the project, Highland Park native and community activist, Allen O’Neil said interest in the solar lighting project is growing.
“We have been inundated with interest from all over the world, all over the country in particular about how we did this. Quite frankly, we are doing this in the northern most climates now and we are able to do this and warrant the product for 10 years now,” he said.
“We are hoping to put 200 of them in Highland Park over the next several years,” said O’Neil. “The city accesses that – that is what they need to meet their lighting needs. It all started in reaction to street lights being taken out of Highland Park.”
The $6,200 solar street light on Victor street was paid for through online donations.
O’Neil got involved in the project after city leaders allowed DTE Energy to repossess nearly two-thirds of the city’s street lights because the city was not able to pay its bill.
To donate toward solar-powered streetlights in Highland Park, click on here.
By check: Make out to Soulardarity, and mail to Soulardarity, in care of St. Benedict Roman Catholic Church, 45 Candler, Highland Park, MI 48203.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 14:18
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