Category: Community - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle
Comerica Bank surprised Cass Technical High School with a $10,000 grant towards its baseball and softball programs. Pictured from left at a surprise assembly are Dejah Darkins, Cass Tech softball player; PAWS, Detroit Tigers mascot; Toia Dennis, Cass Tech softball player; Julie Schneider, head softball coach; Mike Ritchie, incoming Comerica Bank–Michigan president; Janice Tessier, president of Comerica’s Charitable Foundation; Lisa Phillips, principal of Cass Tech High School; Julius DuBose, Cass Tech associate baseball coach; Elaine Lewis, vice president of public affairs and strategic planning for the Detroit Tigers; Richard Miller, Cass Tech head baseball coach; Tom Ogden, president, Comerica Bank–Michigan; Dominick White, Cass Tech baseball player; Edward Tomlin, Cass Tech athletic director; and Ken Snapp, Cass Tech baseball player.
Springtime in Michigan is a time of uncertainty. For many, “Can I wear shorts or will I need my hat and scarf today?” is a common question. And when the forecast reads, “sunny and 60, with a chance of evening snow,” Michiganders aren’t surprised; it’s just a fact of life. Through all its uncertainty, spring always marks the start of baseball and softball season for communities across the state, including our own Detroit Tigers. Rain, snow or shine, you’ll find people breaking in their gloves, lacing up their cleats and dusting off their ball caps.
For the third consecutive year, Comerica Bank, with the help of the Detroit Tigers, set out to make baseball and softball season even more special by awarding two public high schools with a $10,000 Grand Slam Grant each. This year’s recipients were Cass Technical High School and Holland High School.
“The funding for high school athletics continues to dwindle. We applaud our partner Comerica Bank for stepping up to the plate and awarding the Grand Slam Grant to the baseball and softball programs at Cass Tech and Holland high schools,” said Elaine Lewis, vice president, public affairs and strategic planning with the Detroit Tigers. “The financial support provided to each school assists the teams with resources to foster a love for the great game of baseball.”
Starting in February, Comerica sent out a call for applications to high schools in southeast, central and west Michigan. Coaches, athletic directors and administrators got word of the Grand Slam Grant program and more than 60 applications were submitted. Next, Comerica selected the top three schools from southeast Michigan and another three from central/west Michigan. With the finalists chosen, it was up to the Detroit Tigers, including celebrity judge Andy Dirks, to select this year’s Grand Slam Grant recipients.
The fun didn’t end there, Comerica and the Tigers planned surprise pep assemblies at each school to announce the $10,000 Grand Slam Grant to students.
Cass Tech’s announcement came first. Students, including the baseball and softball teams, filed into the auditorium with no idea why they’d been summoned for a midweek assembly. Thomas Ogden, president of Comerica Bank–Michigan, called both teams on stage where he announced Cass Tech was the southeast Michigan 2013 Grand Slam Grant recipient. Detroit Tigers mascot PAWS, the DTE Energy Squad, DJ Kenny Valentino and Fox Sports Detroit celebrity emcee Shannon Hogan were on hand to provide entertainment for the students during the surprise assembly. The students received a congratulatory video message from Detroit Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks.
“Wow, this is giving back to the community at its best,” said Lisa Phillips, principal at Cass Technical High School. “It touches my heart that Comerica Bank and the Tigers would look down the street to Cass Tech and offer such support to our baseball and softball programs.”
“Comerica Bank is a proud supporter of Michigan’s hometown teams,” said Thomas D. Ogden, president, Comerica Bank-Michigan. “Cass Tech’s plans to use the Grand Slam Grant to fund much-needed equipment and uniforms and to increase participation in youth baseball and softball programs will prove to be a great value to the students and the community.”
“The Grand Slam Grant represents an opportunity for Cass Tech to be able to sustain its success as a program and allows us to give back to our community by offering an improved little league program,” said Julie Schneider, softball coach at Cass Technical High School.
The following day, Comerica representatives headed to Holland for the second surprise in as many days. Students poured into the Dutch Dome, Holland High School’s unique dome shaped gymnasium, for what they thought was a simple pep rally and nothing more. West Michigan Whitecaps mascot CRASH and celebrity emcee DJ Internio of 104.5 WSNX had the students pumped up throughout the assembly. The Dome erupted in applause when John Porterfield, Grand Rapids region president for Comerica Bank, announced Holland had been awarded the grant to finance field improvements, equipment and establish a training camp program.
“This creates more opportunities for the softball program to grow and will help us improve our facilities and equipment,” said John Anderson, softball coach at Holland High School. “The more good things we have, the more girls will probably want to come and play, and the more players we have the better things are going to get.”
In addition to the $10,000 grant, both schools received 60 tickets to see the Detroit Tigers take on the New York Yankees on April, 6 at Comerica Park, where they were recognized on the field. Coach Julie Schneider of Cass Tech and John Anderson of Holland threw out the ceremonial first pitches.
The Comerica Bank Grand Slam Grant program was created in 2011 to help public high schools in Michigan create, expand or improve a baseball or softball program. Past winners include Kalamazoo Central High School, Lincoln Park High School and Detroit Renaissance High School.
“At Comerica, we’ve enjoyed watching the Grand Slam Grant program grow to help so many community baseball and softball programs across Michigan, said Thomas D. Ogden, president, Comerica Bank-Michigan. “It’s inspiring to see the dedication and passion of local school administrators, coaches and future all-stars.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 13:22
Category: Community - Original Written by Amber L. Bogins
For quite some time, downtown and midtown Detroit has been without a solid grocery store, making residents in the area have to travel to other areas in the city. Now, there is Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe in midtown on Woodward, Whole Foods will open June 5th on Mack and Woodward. Recently, Rock Ventures added Papa Joe's Gourmet Marketing and Catering to the steady stream of retailers choosing to call the area home. The new store will inhabit space inside of the Rock Ventures-owned First National Building, merely a stone's throw away from Campus Martius.
Opened in 1971, Papa Joe's Gourmet Market is a grocery store that offers fresh meats, produce, and seafood in addition to gourmet catered foods and an extensive wine collection. The new store would occupy approximately 15,000 square feet of first floor space adjacent to the Roasting Plant in the building. While meeting the growing demand for a downtown grocer, the new market is also expected to create 80 new jobs.
"Papa Joe's expansion to Detroit will be welcome news to downtown foodies, residents and workers alike who have long lamented the lack of a downtown grocery store," said Dan Mullen, Bedrock's Vice President of Real Estate Development, Rock Ventures' full-service real estate firm specializing in purchasing, leasing, financing, developing and managing of commercial space.
"This will be an expansion of Papa Joe's tried and true concept of offering fresh produce, meat, and seafood as well as gourmet prepared foods and catering that has devoted fans already in metro Detroit," said Mullen.
"We are thrilled with the opportunity to be the first truly downtown grocer in years. My head is full of ideas of how to serve people with great products and services in an inviting space with great indoor and outdoor flow," said Papa Joe's founder, Tony Curtis.
The downtown Papa Joe's will operate slightly different than the other locations. In addition to everything available at Papa Joe's suburban locations, the downtown location will also include delivery and table service for gourmet pizza, pasta, Thai food, sushi as well as a full liquor license. Perhaps the most exciting or innovative feature of the downtown location resides in its use of technology. Patrons will have the option of placing their grocery orders online and picking up their already packaged orders. It will be a haven for foodies and gourmet aficionados. Thanks to its prime location near Campus Martius, patrons will also have the opportunity to sit in Papa Joe's outdoor patio space and enjoy the atmosphere of Campus Martius and listen to any live music that is playing.
"[Papa Joe's] will have a great design and experience you can't get anywhere else. It will feature a restaurant and bar atmosphere and will be a destination for people to visit around the world," said Mullen.
Having a multifaceted retailer such as Papa Joe's moving into the downtown space will add life and vitality to a city that has survived a rock-bottom crash and is rising like a phoenix from the ashes. Although Papa Joe's is not expected to open until later this year or early 2014, one can imagine it being a hotspot next summer.
Follow Amber L. Bogins on Twitter @AmberLaShaii
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 07:48
Category: Community - Original Written by Amber L. Bogins, Entertainment Editor
Detroit author Dr. D. C. Wiggins is releasing her debut novel, “Their Darkest Hour.” The novel is a revealing tale chronicling the hidden complexities of relationships. Not wanting to perpetuate the romanticized myth of marriage, “The Darkest Hour” offers a tale of a woman who is emotionally malnourished mentally stressed and physically drained.
Inspired by true events, Dr. D. C. Wiggins tells the story of Desiree and Malik. The couple’s relationship begins to disintegrate following Malik’s recovery from a surgery to remove a brain tumor. Instead of leaning on Desiree for support during the difficult time, Malik shuts her out and finds himself more and more frustrated with his wife and himself. The couple’s journey takes them through the depths of temptation and forces them to learn the importance of truth and wisdom despite their circumstances.
Dr. D.C. Wiggins, born Dr. De’Andrea Wiggins, has had a love for reading and writing since she was a young girl. She is an author, speaker and facilitator who has presented at corporations, universities and churches around metro Detroit. Dr. Wiggins has been an educator for over fifteen years. Dr. Wiggins is committed to helping people grow spiritually and excel professionally.
Currently, she is a blogger and book review for the Tyndale Blog Network, Waterbrook Multnomah and Thomas Nelson Publishers. She is an independent contributor for the Examiner.com as the Detroit Christianity and Culture examiner. She is also the interim director of Diversity and Inclusion at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine. Her diverse backgrounds and interests coupled with a long-held passion for literature and fiction gives her a unique perspective as a fiction writer.
A book signing for “Their Darkest Hour” will be held on Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. at the gymnasium at Impact Church located at 12844 Elmdale at Dickerson on Detroit’s east side.
Last Updated on Friday, 12 April 2013 08:00
Category: Community - Original Written by Amber L. Bogins
April 6, hundreds of volunteers put on t-shirts and jeans, grabbed shovels and planted nearly three hundred trees in Detroit’s northwest neighborhoods. The Greening of Detroit initiative, with the help of thousands of volunteers, corporate and community support has a planting goal of almost two thousand, five hundred trees through the spring season in targeted communities around the city. Most of the trees that will be planted by The Greening this spring are part of the green infrastructure efforts undertaken by the Detroit Water and Sewage Department to reduce storm water runoff in the Cody Rouge neighborhood. By planting big trees, the organization and the city are hoping to solve the overflow problem, essentially cleaning up the water system in a cheap, effective way while simultaneously helping to beautify the neighborhood. Metro Detroit and other parts of the country became infested with an invasive inspect species called the Emerald Ash Borer, which is responsible for the loss of tens of millions ash trees in the Detroit area alone.
“The Greening of Detroit is working with the city to address the community’s forestry needs,” said Dean Hay, director of Green Infrastructure at The Greening of Detroit. “Our city’s financial constraints have severely reduced forestry services at a time when the city has an even greater need to plant trees and develop healthy, green spaces. Our work is more important than ever, especially since the devastation of the ash tree in metro Detroit.”
Having more trees in our neighborhoods will provide numerous benefits to the environment and the social and economic landscape, including:
• help clean the air
• provide shade and cooling in the summer, reducing heating and cooling expenses
• reduce carbon emissions
• help fight climate change
• Reduce crime and stabilize neighborhoods
• Increase real estate values
• Provide aesthetic beauty and calmness to the landscape
The Greening initiative aligns with the Detroit Future City strategic framework and the new green infrastructure is projected to save the city huge amounts of money because the trees will absorb moisture and reduce contamination of pollution and raw sewage into the clean water system.
“The Greening’s tree planting is a great example of Detroit Future City’s ecological focus, which is required to improve [the] quality of life in Detroit. I commend The Greening for creating green infrastructure that makes Detroit more sustainable and attractive,” said Heidi Alcock, CEO of Michigan Community Resources, one of the lead civic engagement partners for the creation of the Detroit Future City framework.
In addition to working with the Detroit Future Society, Quicken Loans is the premier corporate sponsor of The Greening’s Green Thumb Volunteer Challenge.
“Our company is heavily investing in downtown Detroit and believes in supporting efforts to stabilize neighborhoods and improve the city’s overall economic and environmental landscape,” said Tim Birkmeier, vice-president of Mortgage Banking for Quicken Loans. “We encourage our team members to engage in the community where we live, work, and play. Our team members want to make a difference in everything they do and take pride in being part of the Greening of Detroit’s efforts!”
The Greening of Detroit will be planting trees every Saturday (with the exception of Memorial Day weekend) through mid-June. Anyone interested in volunteering can register online at www.greeningofdetroit.com and clicking on “Get Involved” or contact their office at (313) 237-8733.
Pictured: Rebecca Salminen Witt, President of The Greening of Detroit, Detroit Councilman James Tate, and Tim Berkmeier, Vice President of Mortgage Banking for Quicken Loans work together to plant trees in Detroit neighborhood.
Follow Amber L. Bogins on Twitter @AmberLaShaii
Last Updated on Monday, 15 April 2013 09:58
Port Huron Area School District wins energy grant to replace obsolete lighting in elementary schools
Category: Community - Original Written by Amber L. Bogins
Today the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced that the Port Huron Area School District was awarded a $99,365 grant for installation of energy efficient lighting in seven elementary schools. The project will replace or retrofit obsolete lighting and ballasts containing PCB with newer lighting technologies, helping the schools become more energy efficient and cutting costs. According to Port Huron Area District Superintendent, H. Ronald Wollen, the district is looking to save an estimated $15,000 per year on its energy expenses due to the lighting upgrades. With energy prices on the rise, finding solutions to help schools cut their energy budget is increasingly important and will provide a safer learning environment for students.
“Replacing obsolete lighting equipment will make the school environment healthier for student and also bring energy and cost saving benefits to the school district,” said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney. “The State of Michigan is pleased to partner with the Port Huron Area School District to replace older, unsafe ballasts and inefficient lighting fixtures with environmentally friendly equipment.”
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PCB ballasts can be a significant source PCB emissions in schools and can have a toxic effect, especially in elementary school-aged children.
“These grant funds are a breath of fresh air in a time of tight finances and moves us another step in the right direction of providing a great learning environment for our students,” said Wollen.
Grants are administered by the Michigan Energy Office through the State Energy Program of the U.S. Department of Energy. The State Energy Program provides financial and technical assistance to states through formula and competitive grants. States use the grants to develop state strategies and goals to address their energy priorities.
Port Huron School District will be responsible for the labor to remove and install the fixtures and proper disposal of disposal of the PCB ballasts in compliance with the Toxic Substances Control Act.
The project will be completed prior to the start of the 2013-14 school year.
Last Updated on Monday, 08 April 2013 16:28
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