Category: Community Written by Kate Abbey-Lambertz, The Huffington Post
The last year has been exciting for caffeine drinkers in Detroit, what with the opening of Germack in Eastern Market, Great Lakes in Midtown, and more coffee shops in the works. But what about those looking for a more herbal pick-me-up?
That's where Socra Tea comes in. The new tea house near the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit serves 50 kinds of loose, organic tea as well as pastries, and there isn't a coffee bean to be found.
"The beautiful thing about having a tea house is I can open up a can of tea [for customers] and they can just smell it," said owner Meg Jones. Usually, Jones said, the strong aroma of coffee would mask the scent of tea, and this way, she can walk customers through different teas.
Jones owns the shop with her fiance and parents. She's also been helped along the way by mentor Lisa McDonald, who owns TeaHaus in Ann Arbor and has shared wisdom about running a business, not to mention the study of tea itself.
"It's a little mom-and-pop shop," Jones said. "I get the love of tea from my parents ... and when I got pregnant with my son I had to kick my coffee habit. I started really enjoying tea, and just saw the need for a tea house in Detroit."
Located at 71 Garfield St. in the Sugar Hill Arts District, the tea house claims to be the only one in Detroit, though Tarot and Tea plans to open in the West Village. The building is home to a gallery, architects, artists and Sugar Hill Clay, a clay studio with which Socra Tea will be collaborating.
When the shop opened on Noel Night, Jones estimated they had 600 people walk through their doors. Socra Tea keeps hours in line with nearby galleries, Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check their Facebook to see the tea of the day.
Last Updated on Thursday, 13 December 2012 09:53
Category: Community Written by Zack Burgess
It was once considered a great place to live; perfectly placed, perfectly suited for Detroit and all that it had to offer. The goals were clear, you wanted to live or know someone at the Lafayette Towers.
Musicians, doctors, lawyers, teachers, business people and factory workers made it home. People liked living there.
For many years, before trouble hit these Towers that were once a beacon of city living, it was considered a sweet moment of shared experience, one more pleasant part of being African American and being from Detroit.
Unfortunately things changed. Like the rest of a city faced with challenges, so went the Lafayette Towers. Foreclosure set in, there was a government takeover (HUD) and the Towers as Detroiters knew it – were no more.
Well today, the Lafayette Towers have a new owner, with a promise to restore it to glory. Nine months ago, Detroit-based business mogul Greg Jackson, the owner of the real estate firm Jackson Land Holding Co. LLC, bought the Towers from the city, for $5.8 million. An institution had been saved.
“My early recollection of this property — growing up in the city of Detroit, if you knew someone who lived in the Lafayette Towers — that was big time stuff,” said Jackson. “To just ride past and look at these buildings were a thrill within itself, because they were beautiful on the outside. And they were the epitome of luxury living in Detroit. One of the things that people would aspire to do…was to be able to live at the Lafayette Towers. That meant you had made it.”
The history of the Towers is an interesting one. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, a major urban redevelopment project on Detroit’s east side created Lafayette Park, which was a planned community that is today one of the city’s most racially integrated and economically stable neighborhoods.
Lafayette Park was built on land that was once a densely populated working-class African-American neighborhood called Black Bottom, after the marshy bottoms at the source of the River Savoyard, which was buried when Detroit was settled. Classified as a “slum” in the 1940s, the neighborhood was razed and left vacant until the mid-1950s, when Chicago developer Herbert Greenwald made a successful proposal to develop the land with architect Mies van der Rohe, urban planner Ludwig Hilberseimer and landscape designer Alfred Caldwell.
Three high-rises, 186 ground-level townhouses and a large park were completed by the early 1960s. Both of the Towers were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
“What I hope to do to do is bring that type of stature back to the Towers,” said Jackson, who is also the CEO of the Prestige Automotive Group of auto dealerships. “Over the years…to a certain extent the former owners let the property run into disrepair. There were some deferred maintenance and some bad things that were happening on the property 15, 10, five years ago. The good news is that…all of that has changed.”
Presently, Jackson says the occupancy rate is 90 percent and there is no plan to displace current residents. Renovation will be done as occupants move.
Even so, Jackson has a very aggressive plan to have the Towers renovated and brought up to speed within the next 18 months. According to him, renovation cost will range anywhere from $6 to 10 million, a HUD condition of the sale. With that being said, there are currently no plans to raise rents.
“I think before we have an opportunity to raise rents, we have to improve the level of service,” said Jackson.
The Formidable Group currently manages the property. And Jackson says he is very pleased with the work they have been doing to help restore the property to respectability.
There will be a renovation of the Olympic size pool area that sits above the parking garage, the fitness centers in both Towers, the adding of personal trainers and a coffee shop.
“When I first found out that this property was available, I immediately became excited,” said Jackson. “I got excited because it was once one of Detroit’s premier residences. There were enough units that it could be managed by a professional management company. The good news is that the management company that is running the Towers today is very skilled at what they do. They manage large properties all over the country.”
The Formidable Group has improved the cleanliness of the grounds, cleaned up the structure and beefed up security. There are now three security guards at all times over a 24-hour period. They also have secured access to parking.
“They have provided an excellent level of base…in order for me to take over this property and take it to the next level…‘the New Lafayette Towers,’ that is our brand,” said Jackson. “As a consequence of Detroit as a city changing, our clientele is going to change. It’s a young professional crowd taking over the Lafayette Towers. And all of our changes are going to be geared towards that crowd. The space should be beautiful.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 December 2012 11:42
Category: Community Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
Fifth Third Bank will present the 10th Annual Fifth Third Bank Holiday Series at the Fox Theatre, which features winter classics and new seasonal sensations.
“The holiday time is when tradition and family are truly cherished, and we are proud that we have helped create memories at the fabulous Fox Theatre,” said Jack Riley, senior vice president of Marketing at Fifth Third Bank. “Our partnership with Olympia has been one of the cornerstones of our marketing calendar for over 10 years now and continues to grow stronger each year.”
The Holiday Series began Nov. 23 with Chris Isaak’s “Beyond the Sun Tour.” The Holiday Series line-up also included eight performances of “Christmas with the Rat Pack - Live at the Sands.”
Other holiday shows include: “Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration – The Symphony Tour” on Thursday, Dec. 6; Gary Hoey’s “Ho Ho Hoey’s Rockin’ Holiday Show,” Friday, Dec. 7; Kenny Rogers’ “Christmas and Hits” with Special Guest Billy Dean, Thursday, Dec. 13; Clay Aiken’s “Joyful Noise 2012,” Friday, Dec. 14; Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis, Sunday, Dec. 16; and Karen Newman’s “Christmas Eve on Woodward Avenue,” Thursday, Dec. 20.
Tickets can be purchased at OlympiaEntertainment.com, the Fox Theatre and Joe Lewis box offices.
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 December 2012 12:21
Category: Community Written by Amber Bogins
Weekend 10: December 7-9
1. Saturday, 12/8 Walk Fashion Show 2012 at 5pm Neighborhood: Cultural District/Midtown/Wayne State Charles H. Wright Museum Of African American History 315 E. Warren Detroit, MI
2. Friday, 12/7 Trey Songz Chapter V World Tour Feat. Miguel and Elle Varner 8pm at the Fox Theatre Go online for ticketing information http://www.olympiaentertainment.com
3. Friday & Saturday, 12/7-8 Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village 6:30p-10p Enjoy the most popular holiday event in the area, Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village. Held December 1, 7-8, 14-16, 18-23 and 26-27 from 6:30 to 10 p.m., this event is the premiere holiday celebration! The event costs $15-$75. For more information, visit http://www.thehenryford.org.
4. Saturday, 12/8 Rickey Smiley Family Skate Party, 6p-8p Westland Skate Phone: 734-326-2800 Address: 37550 Cherry Hill Road, Westland, MI Dr. Darrius and other Hot 107.5 Jocks will be hosting….and DJ Snook will be spinning the music! WIN Tickets daily or buy them at the HOT 107.5 office @ 3250 Franklin Street – Detroit, MI 48207 on Tuesday through Friday from 10am until 5pm. 4 ticket for $10.75 PLUS and NEW unwrapped TOY would be appreciated. WOW Great Price!!!!!!!
5. Saturday, 12/8 Soul Music at Masonic Temple, 7:30p Join us as we welcome Soul Music starring Millie Jackson with Willie Clayton and Theodis Ealey at the Masonic Temple on Saturday, December 8th. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets are on sale now at the Masonic Temple Box Office and www.Ticketmaster.com.
6. Friday, 12/7 Piston VS Bulls, 7:30 Doors open at 5:30. Go online to http://www.palacenet.com for ticketing information
7. Friday, 12/7 Auburn Hills Tree Lighting This 19th annual tree lighting event promises fun for the whole family and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus! COST: Free LOCATION: MOMS Memorial at Auburn and Squirrel roads, Downtown Auburn Hills Auburn Hills, MI ADDITIONAL INFO PHONE 248-370-9353 WEBSITE http://www.auburnhills.org
8. Wayne County Lightfest This four-mile-long spectacular is touted as the longest drive-thru holiday light display in the Midwest. Note: Closed on Dec. 25. COST: $5 fee/car LOCATION: Enter off Merriman Road, between Ann Arbor Trail and Warren Avenue, Westland, MI ADDITIONAL INFO PHONE 734-261-1990 WEBSITE http://www.waynecountyparks.org
9. The Weekend, 12/7-9 A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Power Center in Ann Arbor William Shakespeare's comedy is highlighted by chaos, love, obsession and transformation. For mature kids or a parents' night out. Show times are as follows: Thursday: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday: 8 p.m. Sunday: 2 p.m. COST $10-$26 LOCATION Power Center 121 Fletcher St. Ann Arbor, MI PHONE 734-764-2538 WEBSITE http://www.music.umich.edu
10. The Weekend, 12/7-9 Santa Arrives at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi Catch Santa in Novi! You'll love the Ice Palace, complete with a 30-foot ice dome with falling snow, a light show and displays. Times are as follows: Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. COST: Contact for photo package pricing LOCATION Twelve Oaks Mall 27500 Novi Road Novi, MI ADDITIONAL INFO PHONE 248-348-9438 WEBSITE http://www.shoptwelveoaks.com/
Last Updated on Friday, 07 December 2012 11:08
Category: Community Written by Michael Cottman
President Barack Obama stood tall behind the podium at the White House and defended U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice like a little sister who was being picked on by schoolyard bullies. The bullies, however, are Republicans.
“If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me,” Obama said with conviction. “And I’m happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received and to besmirch her reputation, is outrageous.”
And then the president bristled as he issued a stern warning: “When they go after the U.N. ambassador, apparently because they think she’s an easy target, then they’ve got a problem with me.”
It was Obama’s first news conference since he was re-elected and the president appeared confident and ready to take on a fight with Republicans if necessary.
“She has done exemplary work,” Obama said of Rice, the first African American woman to be appointed as U.N. ambassador. “And should I choose — if I think that she would be the best person to serve America in the capacity — the State Department, then I will nominate her.”
Obama defended Rice against accusations by Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who have accused Rice of misrepresenting the facts in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, when terrorists killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
The president is considering elevating Rice to secretary of state, replacing Hillary Clinton who is leaving her post at the end of the year. But Republicans have vowed to block Rice’s appointment, who would need confirmation from Congress to take the job.
Whatever Obama decides, he made it clear to the world that he supports Rice and he won’t let Republicans tarnish her reputation and disrespect the office of the president.
Rice, 47, served as an adviser to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and was later appointed to represent the United States at U.N. headquarters in New York. Rice said that her parents taught her to “never use race as an excuse or advantage” and as a young girl she “dreamed of becoming the first U.S. senator from the District of Columbia.”
On Wednesday, Obama protected Rice who has become a flashpoint issue for Republicans who are still stinging from Obama’s decisive victory over Mitt Romney. Republicans couldn’t oust Obama from the White House during the election, so now they’ll try to derail his high-level appointments. And since Obama has signaled that he’s not going to let Republicans steamroll a Black woman who he considers a friend, the president has set a no-nonsense tone for his next four years in the White House.
In plain talk: Bring it on.
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 December 2012 12:17
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