Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Cathy Nedd
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced today that AAA Michigan will donate $23,500 to the Detroit Public Safety Foundation to pay for the inspection of 20 aerial ladders and 4,600 feet of ground ladders used by the Detroit Fire Department (DFD). The gift is the latest in a recent series of recent corporate donations in support of the City of Detroit’s public safety operations.
“Once again, one of Detroit’s corporate citizens has come forward and generously shown its support for our public safety operations, our first responders and our citizens,” Mayor Bing said. “The proper inspection of our fire department’s aerial ladders and ground ladders was a critical need that AAA Michigan has graciously met. I appreciate the leadership and continued concern for public safety that AAA has demonstrated with this gift.”
"Our history of supporting the community dates back nearly a century," said AAA Michigan President Steve Wagner. "We are very pleased to present the Detroit Fire Department with this grant, which we know will help save lives."
The ladder inspections are required to keep DFD equipment in compliance with standards of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an independent organization that establishes fire safety codes and regulations for various industries and the firefighting profession. Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin ordered last February that until a full inspection of the entire ladder fleet is completed, DFD will not engage in manned aerial ladder operations -- unless there is an immediate threat to life. In cases where a manned ladder must be used, every effort will be made to properly support the ladder. DFD continues to use unmanned aerial ladders as “water towers” to fight large fires.
“We are grateful for AAA’s generous donation,” Commissioner Austin said. “Aerial ladders can place firefighters 100 feet above ground, often with large amounts of water flowing under high pressure. Because of the tremendous stress placed on ladders, regular testing is needed to find the smallest stress fractures and metal fatigue. Completing the testing of our aerial and ground ladders will go a long way toward ensuring the safety of Detroit’s citizens and firefighters.”
AAA Michigan, with 1.5 million members, is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG), the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services to approximately 8.8 million members. AAA Michigan partners with civic and community groups and traffic safety organizations to improve neighborhoods and promote traffic safety through such programs as the AAA School Safety Patrol.
The Detroit Public Safety Foundation was formed in 2011 to support the Detroit Police and Fire departments. Mayor Bing’s Active and Safe Campaign, launched last fall, has a similar mission of supporting Detroit’s public safety and recreational programs. In March, the corporate community pledged $8 million to the public safety component of the Active and Safe Campaign. The money is being used to acquire 23 new ambulances for the Detroit Fire Department’s EMS unit and 100 new patrol cars for the Detroit Police Department. To date, a total of $22 million has been raised toward the $60 million goal of the three-year campaign.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 23:57
Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Bankole Thompson
The current state of Detroit’s electricity grid is not only unreliable but a burden to the city and its residents and the maintenance of the public lighting system has cause the city to continue to operate at a loss, according to a new report emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr will release Monday to the public.
The report is coming 45 days after Gov. Rick Snyder named Orr, a Washington DC bankruptcy attorney emergency manager setting in motion the emergency wheels to get the city on the road to financial stability.
According to the report the city estimates a $250 million to $500 million in capital improvements that would be needed to modernize Detroit’s public lighting system, funds that the city does not have and cannot generate at this time.
“The Emergency Manager believes that it is in the best interest of the citizens of Detroit for the city to exit the power supply business. As of 2010, when the city ceased generating a portion of the electricity it sold, the grid has solely operated as a resale mechanism for its 200-‐plus customers. The current state of the City's electricity grid has been characterized as unreliable, as well as a liability to the city and its citizens,” the report stated. “. Accordingly, the Emergency Manager seeks both to limit the city's exposure to the liabilities associated with an aging grid and provide a solution to ensure reliable power to the City of Detroit. For this reason, the city's electricity customers will be transitioned to a third party, and the grid will be closed down pursuant to a phased plan.”
The Detroit Public Lighting (DPL) department serves over 200 commercial electric customers and about 88,00 streetlights. The report cites the recently created Public Lighting Authority (PLA) as part of a comprehensive plan to overhaul the city’s electricity infrastructure because the authority will have the ability to issue debt.
“Proceeds from the debt issuance will be used to overhaul the current street lighting infrastructure. During early 2013, major legislation was to enable execution of the City's plan. In particular, Senate Bill 970 and House Bill 5705 provided a funding mechanism for the PLA, and House Bill 5688 authorized Detroit to establish the PLA. The PLA's articles of incorporation were adopted in February 2013,” the report stated. “In the short-‐term, the city plans to address long-‐standing lighting outage complaints by working with a third party to replace bulbs and fix wiring related issues to address citizen concerns and improve public safety.”
The long-term goal for the PLA according to the report is to reconfigure the street lighting footprint and pare down the current number of streetlights from approximately 88,000 to 46,000 because “the new lighting footprint will cater to Detroit's current population.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 May 2013 01:38
Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Amber L. Bogins
After thirty-three years of being a staple in Detroit media with WXYZ-TV, award-winning reporter Bill Proctor announced his retirement, effective May 10th. Proctor joined WXYZ-TV in May of 1980 as general assignment writer.
Throughout his career, Proctor has received numerous accolades, including the 1999 Best Coverage Award for breaking news by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. Proctor is also the winner of the 1983 "Outstanding Media Award" from Michigan's Crime Prevention Association. A former police officer for the Federal Protective Service in Washington, D.C., Proctor highlighted two or three unsolved crimes during each program, which aired twice a week.
Expounding upon his passion for criminal justice, Proctor founded “Proving Innocence” a non-profit organization dedicated to providing investigators to innocent convicts in cases of wrongful convictions in the hopes of proving their innocence and getting the charge overturned. He plans to continue his work with this organization upon his retirement.
Follow Amber L. Bogins @AmberLaShaii
Last Updated on Monday, 29 April 2013 16:33
Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Bankole Thompson
The criticism that the use of consultants getting paid over a million dollars per month to help craft a financial recovery map for Detroit is baseless according to emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr.
Since December of last year, Detroit agreed to pay $14 million to nine different companies to provide financial and legal services in the city’s turnaround.
In an exclusive interview with the Michigan Chronicle’s Bankole Thompson ahead of his Monday announcement of a financial operating plan, Orr vigorously defended the city's consultants saying it is disingenuous for some to be questioning use of consultants some of whom were here before his arrival.
“I think part of it is Detroit’s been sort of removed from the world. First of all the amount of money that’s paid is actually small relative to other major cities. We shouldn’t be so provincial about the dollars,” Orr said. “We’ve gotten ourselves into a situation where the amount of debt given ordinary course- the way the city has been running- somebody’s got to come in here with a fresh perspective and say we can’t continue running in place, doing what we are doing that’s taken us to the edge of ruin.”
Orr said if the city were to shut down today and no police or fire services in operation as well as the water department, the city could not pay of its debt in half a generation. He said the magnitude of work that has to b done in a city that has over 15 billion dollars of debt against a revenue stream of a billion dollars or less requires new fresh eyes.
“Frankly in my opinion to have the consultants most of whom were here before I got here and to hear any criticism about consultants that have been here longer than a year helping the city is misplaced,” Orr said. “I come from a different world, a world of the private sector where consultants are highly sought after and highly valued. I think the city is getting excellent value for their money. So I’m not for one minute going to broker any discussion with the criticism of these consultants. The city needs them. Clearly we haven’t been doing them the right way. We need somebody us to get there.”
Since Orr took over the reigns of government in Detroit after Gov. Rick Snyder named him emergency manager, many have been waiting to see what “bold” steps would be taken to get the city on a path to financial recovery.
Even though his presence is still being protested by some who disagreed that Detroit does not need an emergency manager, a sentiment that rings true with some of the city’s civil rights activists, Orr in the interview said the numbers about the city’s situation cannot be debated.
The city is in the process of naming a new police chief and Cincinnati’s police boss James Craig, a former Detroit police officer has been widely reported to be the lead candidate to oversee 1300 Beaubien.
Orr has been criticized for stepping out of bounds in seeking a new chief by some who say he needs to remain focus on the city’s financial turnaround alone.
The emergency manager disagreed.
“I think that’s a little shortsighted. Over half of our budget is law enforcement,” Orr explains. “Section Nine of Public Act 436 states both the legislature and the mayor shall stand down. They have no authority under that statue. One of the first things I did was to give them authority. Everybody was focused on they are having a salary. That’s a minor part. The real part is ‘they shall stand down and shall not attempt to exercise any power.’ That’s well within (my obligation). At the end of the day six and a half months from now whatever we have that is going to be my responsibility and it’s going to be on my plate.”
Last Updated on Monday, 13 May 2013 22:43
Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Amber L. Bogins, Entertainment Editor
Detroit based beverage company, Faygo recently announced its newest flavor—Faygo Gold. With more than fifty flavors, Faygo Gold is a “spicy ginger ale”. The launch of the new flavor is coupled with a St. Patrick’s Day promotion and a partnership with Tapper’s Jewelry featuring the tagline, “At the End of the Faygo Flavor Rainbow…is Gold”.
The promotion features opportunities to win a “Pot of Gold”—a cauldron that includes Faygo Gold pop, T-shirts, and a 24K solid gold bar from Tapper’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry and Tapper’s Gold Exchange.
“With a 105 year history of pop innovation, Faygo fans have come to expect new flavors that are bold and unique,” said Al Chittaro, executive vice president of Faygo Beverages, Inc. “Consumers are already voicing rave reviews for Faygo Gold, a rich, zippy, ginger ale. Our partnership with another celebrated Michigan brand, Tapper’s Jewelry, is a great way to celebrate the launch of Gold with our loyal fans.”
In order to be eligible for the “Pot of Gold”, Faygo fans are asked to take a photo of “what” or “who” is most valuable to them and upload the photo to Instagram with the hashtag, #FaygoGold. The contest runs from March 15, 2013 to March 29, 2013. The winners will be announced on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The first place winner’s “Pot of Gold” will include a solid gold bar valued at $250; second place--$100; and third place--$50.
Faygo has several different types of soft drink beverages and variety of flavors, including Detroit favorites Red Pop and Rock & Rye. The company’s founders, the Feigenson brothers are credited with coining the regional term “Pop” because of the sound that the soda makes when it is opened. Their headquarters have been located at 3579 Gratiot since 1937.
Follow Amber L. Bogins on Twitter @AmberLaShaii
Last Updated on Friday, 15 March 2013 10:20
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