Category: Community Written by WWJ
WESTLAND (WWJ) - A grand opening ceremony complete with fireworks is being held Thursday night as the kick-off for this year’s Wayne County Lightfest.
The ceremony will be held on Hines Drive in the Westland, Merriman Hollow area, beginning at 6 p.m.
As the Midwest’s largest and longest drive-through light show, Lightfest features more than 45 giant animated holiday themed displays and more than one million lights. The complete Lightfest route is more than four miles of long.
Bring the family to see this spectacular display from 7 to 10 p.m. starting Nov. 15 through Dec 31. (closed on Christmas Day). There is a $5 fee per vehicle.
Dec. 4, 11 and 18 will be Toy Nights. On these three nights, the community is invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy in lieu of the $5 vehicle fee. Wayne County workers will collecting the toys, which will be given as Christmas presents to children who are less fortunate.
When you’ve reached the end of the Lightfest drive, don’t forget to stop for a visit to Santa’s Workshop, at Warrendale Park. Santa will be there starting Thanksgiving Day until Dec. 23. Children can bring their wish lists for Santa and drop them off in the giant mailbox, where Santa’s elves will pick up the letters each night.
Although Lightfest begins at 7 p.m., Hines Drive will be closed to traffic beginning at 5:45 p.m. nightly. Visitors enter Wayne County Lightfest at Hines Drive and Merriman Road in Westland.
For more information, visit www.waynecounty.com or call Wayne County Parks at 734-261-1990.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 09:05
Category: Community Written by Michigan Chronicle
DETROIT, NOVEMBER 14, 2012 – Avalon International Breads is nearing completion of a $2.2 million economic growth project that will ultimately mean more jobs and a much-needed boost for the economy of Detroit.
Construction on what will be called Avalon City Ovens is well underway in a semi-vacant industrial neighborhood on Detroit’s East side. An old, dilapidated 50,000 square foot warehouse is now bustling with construction activity - promising a renaissance to the area near the abandoned Packard plant.
Workers are busy erecting walls, painting ceilings and installing utilities. A large artisan deck oven, recently shipped from Italy, is being carefully built by one of a kind journeymen. The new craft bake house will soon produce Avalon’s trademark baked goods, loved by Detroiters and Avalon enthusiasts throughout the region.
“Avalon City Ovens” will service the artisan bakery’s growing wholesale and retail customers. “In July of 2012, we opened our second retail storefront - the “Eat Well, Do Good” cafe inside Henry Ford Hospital’s West Grand Blvd. facility,” said Ann Perrault, co-founder of Avalon International Breads. “The quick success of this store and growing demand for Avalon products in suburban Detroit and Ann Arbor has prompted our expansion. We have supported Detroit since 1997 and we’re thrilled to continue our growth right here in the heart of the city.”
The renovation at 6555 East Forrest (at Bellevue) is the first phase of Avalon’s long-awaited expansion plans and just one piece of a $2.2 million expansion project, funded by a loan that closed in early October. Weathering the
2008 recession, the foreclosure and banking crisis and political upheaval in Detroit, the loan is a major accomplishment not only for Detroit’s favorite bakery, but also for the public and private partners in the project.
“The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) under Mike Finney wanted to jump start economic growth and support businesses dedicated to employing people, particularly from urban communities,” said Don Snider, senior vice president, Urban Economic Development for MEDC.“ Avalon is a great example of how our collaborative resources with local partners can lead to growth that benefits all of metropolitan Detroit. In addition to support from MEDC, Avalon’s other partners in the loan include Invest Detroit, Whole Foods, the Small Business Administration and Main Street Bank.
“Our phenomenal expansion into grocery stores, restaurants, cafes and new retail outlets has far exceeded the capacity of our original 2,000 square foot production and retail flagship store on Willis,” added Perrault. “As the city of Detroit continues its renaissance, Avalon has the unique opportunity to provide a state of the art manufacturing facility for baked goods and create much-needed jobs for the area,”
Avalon City Ovens will continue to concentrate on artisan-prepared baked goods and organic products while staying true to its motto of, “Eat Well, Do Good.” They have successfully grown the business through award-winning artisan baked goods and a commitment to re-spirit Detroit through its three bottom lines: earth, community and employees.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 11:37
Category: Community Written by Steven Malik Shelton
Emanuel Steward passed away on Oct. 25 in a Chicago hospital where he had been recuperating for several weeks after undergoing surgery for diverticulitis. He was 68.
Steward was an inductee of the International Boxing Hall of Fame as well as the World Boxing Hall of Fame. He molded some 41 world champions and was, perhaps, the greatest boxing trainer of all time. Yet he was much more than that.
He embodied the toughness, tenacity, industriousness and hope of an entire city.
Steward was a life coach, and he instilled in his fighters that the key to winning both in and out of the ring is to give it your best and to never give up; that if a person followed and acted upon this, they could never lose.
Legendary boxer Thomas Hearns said that when he was an adolescent starting out at the fabled Kronk Gym in Detroit, he was told by some cynical, old-time trainers to take off his gloves, go home and forget about boxing because he was too skinny. Steward did not share their sentiments, however, for he saw something special in the gangly youngster and took him under his wing;, and the rest is history.
It was Steward’s love and passion for boxing and his mission to bring out the best character traits of young people that made him a pillar in Detroit and a world renowned boxing wizard. And it was the pursuit and perfection of this passion that eventually released the floodgates of wealth and sent millions in revenue his way.
Yet it was not Steward’s pursuit of wealth that led him to boxing; it was the pursuit of boxing excellence and the development of the mental, spiritual and physical qualities (which are its flowering ground) that invigorated him and made him incredibly successful.
Of course, it was in many ways a much different Detroit that young Steward was introduced to when he arrived there from Bottom Creek, West Virginia at the age of 12. There was crime, but it was buffered by strong family and community ties.
Although the city was viciously segregated, despite this (or maybe because of it) the African American community maintained a certain communion of concern and commitment amongst its members. And Detroit’s storied Black Bottom section was vibrant with that unique blend of urban poverty and innovative artistry that has produced greatness in American cities for centuries.
Steward actually began boxing at the tender age of 7 while still in West Virginia, winning several junior titles along the way. When his parents divorced he moved to Detroit with his mother and turned from battling in the boxing ring to fighting on Detroit’s mean streets. He soon got in trouble with the law and was given an ultimatum to either find a boxing gym to take out his frustrations or be sent to juvenile detention. As fate would have it, Steward was able to hone his skills at the Brewster Recreation Center, the same boxing gym made famous by the likes of Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson.
As a boxer he established an impressive amateur record of 94 wins and only 3 losses, and in 1963 he won the national Golden Gloves championship in the bantamweight division.
Steward discovered that he had a natural ability in boxing and an innate love and inclination to train and teach others. Eventually he took a part-time job at a small basement gym on the west side of Detroit called “The Kronk” and it was this move that would propel him and the gym to international prominence. For it was when he turned in earnest to training and coaching that his light really began to shine.
Yet it was not the crafting of world champions that he seemed to be the most proud of, but the ability to mold youngsters and to infuse them with hope and belief in their own abilities, even in the bleakest and most challenging of circumstances.
“When I think of boxing,” said Steward, “I think of the little boys-and probably the little girls now that go to the gym and that are jumping around and wanting to learn how to throw a punch; maybe to try and win a little trophy; especially for little kids that are physically small and would not necessarily be able to grow and compete in basketball and football and the other sports that require someone to be big.”
The lives that Emauel Steward had a positive influence on are far too numerous to mention. Yet for Detroiters he will always be fondly remembered as the man who transformed an obscure gym in a run-down section of town into an oasis of camaraderie, learning and a veritable rite of passage. A boxing mecca that along with Motown Records and the automobile industry is most responsible for putting Detroit on the world map.
“Kronk Recreation Center was really a key spot for our community,” said Steward when I interviewed him at his home several years ago “I made the little room in the basement the most famous boxing gym in the world. I’m very happy that I was able to do that in that little basement. And Kronk is still here. I have not packed up and said ‘I’m going to L.A.’ or anywhere people have offered me.“
Steward forged other men of more imposing physiques into world class fighters and champions proving that a sport usually thought of one of brawn and brute force was at its essence an endeavor of strategy, of skill and of indomitable will. Yet his most important and enduring legacy is the love and compassion he demonstrated for others along the way.
“Emanuel will be missed because he was taking care of a lot of people,” said current IBF junior middleweight champion Cornelius “K9” Bundrage. “Whenever I needed help I could always go to Emanuel whether it was money or a place to stay or whatever. I will always remember him for that.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 10:19
Category: Community Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - The annual holiday tree lighting ceremony in Campus Martius Park will also usher in seasonal retail to downtown Detroit.
The Tree Lighting festivities begin at 5 p.m. Friday, with entertainment, live music, ice-skating shows, photos with Santa, carriage rides and other seasonal family activities. Officials will then light the 55-foot-tall Norway Spruce, which has over 18,000 lights on over three miles of wire, at approximately 7:45 p.m.
The tree lighting ceremony will also ring in a new retail season in Detroit. More that 50 pop-up shops will be open three days each week through Dec. 22 as part of “Holiday DLight: Made in Detroit,” which debuts Friday.
The lineup this year includes outdoor retailer Moosejaw, fitness studio Spinergy, Papa Joe’s Snack Rack mini-market and retailers from the Somerset Collection. Two featured retailers include The Detroit Shoppe, which has Detroit-themed merchandise, Santa’s Wonderland, a place where children can purchase and wrap gifts for family.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 14:05
Category: Community Written by Huffington Post
826Michigan, the Ann Arbor offshoot of the writing and tutoring centers across the U.S., received a $100,000 grant from DTE Energy to expand their programs to Detroit in 2013. The organization plans to hire one individual and recruit 100 volunteers over the year.
When the group that runs a robot supply store announced plans to expand to Detroit next year, it had nothing to do with the upcoming "Robocop" remake, or even the city's growing tech scene.
Instead, it's the writing and tutoring nonprofit tucked behind that Ann Arbor shop that will bring its services to Detroit students.
826Michigan, the local offshoot of a network of nonprofit tutoring centers founded 10 years ago in San Francisco by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius), will expand with help from a $100,000 DTE Energy grant. They've long wanted to bring the student-focused programs to the city, said Amanda Uhle, executive director of the Michigan chapter.
"From the outset, certainly since I started in 2006, we have aspired to do more in Detroit and serve students in a really significant way," Uhle said. "In the meantime, the economy has been challenging and we've had enough to do to stabilize our organization."
826 Michigan has run some programs for Detroit students and schools, but Uhle said the challenge has been that their volunteers are primarily Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti-based.
"That's really not our model … we recruit volunteers who are from a certain community and allow students to be inspired by and learn from adult members of their community," she explained.
The grant will let 826Michigan hire a Detroit-based individual to recruit and train local volunteers, with the hope to have a corp of 100 by the end of the year. In Washtenaw, the nonprofit serves 2,500 students and has 400 to 500 volunteers participating annually.
The organization plans to work in schools around the city, and has begun forming relationships with DPS and charter schools as well as community organizations. They offer a range of tutoring programs and workshops, including everything from playwriting to college essay workshops in the Ann Arbor area.
"Most of our students are in the category of saying they don't like writing or they aren't good at school, and we give them the opportunity to experience other things," Uhle said. "The core of our program is one-on-one interactions between students and volunteers."
In Ann Arbor, and likely in Detroit, many of the programs happen at off-site locations, unlike some of the urban locations where students and families are more likely to be able to walk to the center.
"A lot of our programming is led by input from the students we're serving, their families and our volunteers who make it possible, where our volunteers are able to access, whether they have cars, have availability during the day," Uhle said.
Though the 826 locations are known for eccentric, kid-friendly storefronts, like Ann Arbor's Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair and Boston's Bigfoot Research Institute, finding a permanent space is not the first priority.
"We really want the time in the community to get feedback," Uhle said. "What neighborhoods have taken to our program and which schools."
The nonprofit will likely open a center with a retail front after they have become more established. The stores may bring in some money, but they have a more important purpose than keeping robots in working order.
"They make students feel even better about coming to get help. It takes the stigma away, makes students feel that it's an engaging and fun place," Uhle said.
For more information about 826Michigan programs and volunteer opportunities, see their website. They will begin recruiting volunteers at the beginning of next year.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 08:59
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