Category: Community Written by huffington Post
Gov. Rick Snyder signed the package of bills banning the sale of synthetic marijuana on Tuesday afternoon.
“K2, Spice and similar products are not safe for human consumption, and I applaud the Legislature’s efforts to remove these dangerous compounds from our communities and protect our youth,” Snyder said in a release.
After local protests and several tragedies linked to "synthetic marijuana," Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has announced he will sign into law a package of four bills that would ban K2, Spice and other synthetic drugs including "bath salts." The signing will take place Tuesday in Lansing.
The legislation would ban people from selling or carrying the substances effective July 1, according to the Detroit Free Press. More than 40 other states have enacted synthetic marijuana bans.
Under one of the bills that would go into effect immediately, the director of the Michigan Department of Community Health would also be able to ban any substance considered to be an immediate threat to public health after consulting with the Michigan Board of Pharmacy.
The drugs have been sold over the counter at gas stations as a blend of herbs sprayed with chemicals, and their accessibility have made them attractive to teens.
In the wake of several tragedies, including a Bloomfield Township teen's reported fatal overdose on synthetic marijuana and its alleged involvement in the case of Tucker Cipriano, who is charged with murdering his father, local outcry caused communities to enact their own bans and protest gas stations where the drugs were being sold. The Detroit News reports synthetic marijuana has led to 180 hospitalizations across the state up through last month.
On June 13, the Tri-County Business Community, a business organization with 4,000 members, pledged to uphold an June 5 emergency order by Detroit Mayor Dave Bing banning K2 and similar substances.
While the synthetic drug known as "bath salts," also included in the legislation, has received less direct criticism in the state, national attention has turned to its potential danger after last month's gruesome Florida face-eating attack by a man who is suspected to have ingested the drug.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 09:59
Category: Community Written by Michigan Chronicle
It’s no surprise to those who know him that Kevin Smith was recently named chief of staff to Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts. His quiet but effective mannerisms have earned him a reputation for being a person who gets things done. But what many don’t know is that it seems he was being prepped for this position of challenge and change for years.
At 40, Smith is youthful but with a degree of poise usually reserved for those much older. A native Detroiter, Smith is the son of the late Dr. Gerald K. Smith, founder of Youthville Detroit, and Dr. Ann C. Smith, an accomplished educator. He grew up on Detroit’s west side, two blocks from Mumford High School, one of 15 current DPS schools slated to be taken over by the state-created Education Achievement Authority in the fall of 2012. A product of DPS schools, including Renaissance High School, Smith enjoyed a childhood that gave him balance and a sense of being.
“My father was no nonsense, with me and everyone else.,” he said. “But he had a beautiful spirit and cared about everybody. He also never gave or called in favors for me or tried to persuade me to follow in his shadow, but instead, gave me the support and confidence to find my own way.”
He didn’t realize it then, but Smith was being strengthened in a way he didn’t recognize or appreciate at the time. His parents were loving but firm and provided a sense of community for Kevin, his friends and the neighborhood.
“My parents knew the value of a strong support system for kids, All of them. And they generously provided one,” he said.
His father lived and believed that “when kids are provided opportunities to be constructively involved and have caring adults in their lives, they make better choices, which help them become better adults.”
This belief was the basis of Youthville, which he founded in 1999.
After graduating from high school, Smith continued his education at Michigan State University and Wayne State University Law School, where he served as an associate editor and survey editor of the Wayne Law Review.
Immediately after law school, Smith served as judicial law clerk to the Honorable Damon J. Keith, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, before continuing his legal career as a bond attorney and eventually partner at the blue chip law firm of Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone, P.L.L.C.
But after his father passed in 2008, Smith grew hungry for new opportunities to make a difference. In September 2011 he left Miller Canfield to become managing partner of his own municipal law and public policy firm, Public Solutions Group, LLC.
That same year he served as policy advisor to United States Congressman Gary C. Peters, for the 9th District of Michigan, and as a member of the financial advisory team to Mayor DeAndre Windom of the City of Highland Park, where he helped the city develop its own deficit elimination plan and stave off the appointment of an emergency manager by the state.
“I’ve been blessed to work with some pretty amazing people.” Smith said. “From Judge Keith to Gary Peters to many extremely smart lawyers at Miller Canfield, I learned most of what I know from people who were accustomed to being on the front line of challenges.”
Smith also had a street-level view of the challenges within the DPS system He and wife Reva and their two children, Sydney (8) and Gerald (7), reside in Detroit: “My children attend DPS schools. I see and live the realities of a challenged urban school system every day.”
But, unlike many others, Smith realizes that making a difference for all children means staying and working to make a change. So, when the call came for him to join the staff of Roy Roberts, he didn’t think twice.
“Mr. Roberts is no-nonsense, like my father was. And he too, is a champion of education and opportunity for all children. I realize you can’t make a difference from the sidelines.
My father was a major influence on me. He not only cared, but showed me how to do the same.”
While Smith believes that caring is a major first step, he also realizes a combination of grassroots awareness and business acumen are key to returning DPS to the level of excellence of its past: “We need leadership at every level — students, parents, teachers and administrators.”
Smith believes there is no shortage of ideas, but rather an absence of an action plan, which Roberts has formulated and begun executing.
“Mr. Roberts was a key factor in my accepting this opportunity. He is exactly what DPS needs right now.”
Those who have worked with Smith in the past also have high opinions of him.
“I think most highly of Kevin and the work he did for us while he was at Miller Canfield,” said Joyce Parker, emergency financial manager for Highland Park Schools and former emergency manager for the City of Ecorse. “We (Ecorse) had a very complex bond issue, and Kevin coordinated the entire year-long process and got us to the finish line. He is an excellent young man who is detail oriented. I have the utmost respect for him as a person and professional.”
The Honorable Judge Daman J. Keith also had an influence on Smith, who cited the judicial legend for “challenging me to not just accept what already exists. but to think about what is right, then decide and be committed to doing it.”
More importantly, Smith says he is totally invested in DPS.
“I see the needs and the hits the city and DPS take every day. As a product of DPS, a lifelong Detroiter, a father of DPS students, and now a member of the DPS team, I’m committed at every level to the vision Mr. Roberts has for making this Ddstrict everything it is capable of becoming,” he said.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 June 2012 18:50
Category: Community Written by Lawana Monay Fort
The possibility of an overseas dream is on the brink of fruition for student musicians of Detroit’s Martin Luther King High School Marching Band. As the world gathers in London, Great Britain, this summer to watch the 2012 Olympics, many Detroiters will anxiously await four live performances as one of the nation’s top high school bands play an array of jazz, symphonic and marching band music.
The students have received sizable amounts of financial support. However, according to Victoria Miller, band director and acclaimed music educator, the deadline is approaching fast and they’re still in need of more than $10,000 to fulfill their overseas dream.
The $280,000 expense for this venture will cover insurance costs, airfare and hotel expenses for sixty students and ten adult chaperones.
Miller looks forward to going to London to put on a great show. The band plans to wear Detroit tees for the world to see and to represent the city proudly. She was adamant about defying the misconceptions outsiders have about the city. During one of their travels, a bystander said, “When I’d think of Detroit, I’d think of guns, fire and burning buildings. Now, I think of (a great) band.”
It all started in May 2011 when she was contacted by the Music Tour Group and the band was invited to perform at the Olympics. Fearing she could not successfully handle such a huge undertaking, she declined the invitation and passed it on to Detroit’s All City Marching Band who in turn decided to give it back to the King High School band.
Surprisingly, in January 2012, Miller was contacted by a local travel company that heard about their quest for funding and offered to pay for their travel expenses. Last December, the group received $10,000 from 20th Century Fox’s “Glee” Give a Note Contest.
More than $200,000 was received from UAW workers across Michigan.
“We’ve managed to raise $263,000 as of last Monday — $1,600 from M&M candy and bake sales,” Miller said. “A group of senior citizens even gave us $300 worth of bottles and pop cans. We’re so grateful to all the people who gave.”
The bandleader passionately expressed her gratitude for all the donations and consistent media coverage the band received since she agreed to take on this venture.
Those who wish to donate can mail them to Martin Luther King Band, 3200 E. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48207. Checks should be made payable to ML King Band.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 June 2012 11:18
Category: Community Written by Jackie Berg
Cardinal Health, Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health System collaborate to promote urban renewal
A bookie would not have given the potential partnership between competitive healthcare giants Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) and the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) very good odds of making it past a guarded first meeting.
Despite assumptions that such efforts are a long shot, at best, the two systems defied the long-held belief that fierce competitors cannot achieve mutual goals with the announcement of an innovative effort that will combine the strengths of HFHS, DMC and Cardinal Health to bring urban renewal and jobs to Detroit.
As part of their commitment to the city’s economic recovery efforts, DMC and HFHS have agreed to long-term distribution agreements with Cardinal Health, enabling the company to relocate a medical products distribution center to the Midtown area from its current Romulus locations.
The partnership, which offers unique advantages to each company, is estimated to bring 140 new jobs to Detroit.
The project is expected to lead to further development not only in the areas of warehousing and office space, but also in retail and residential space, according to Henry Ford Health System President Robert Riney.
“The proximity of Cardinal Health’s distribution center to our respective operations brings significant advantages with just-in-time delivery of medical supplies and devices, and enhanced electronic inventory tracking and monitoring systems,” Riney said. “As important, the proximity to major freeway arteries provides Cardinal Health with significant logistics improvements.”
Distribution center development plans include retail space, loft and residential properties, and affordable housing within a walking-distance campus patrolled by the partners and adjacent neighbor, Wayne State University.
“The development will include amenities like a community garden, extensive bike and walking trails and a green space in the freeway overpass,” Riney added.
A retirement community is also being discussed, according to Riney, who notes that many HFHS retirees and employees nearing retirement have expressed interest in a downtown location adjacent to Henry Ford Hospital.
“DMC was focused on leveraging our partnership in a meaningful way to contribute to the city’s revitalization. This new facility will fulfill Cardinal Health’s commitment to relocate its Michigan-based distribution operations within the city of Detroit, which was part of the negotiation of the DMC agreement. We are excited that our 20-year partnership will continue and the relocation will be an opportunity for new construction within the Midtown area,” said Donald P. Groth, corporate vice president of materials resource management, Detroit Medical Center.
CARDINAL HEALTH DISTRIBUTION CENTER FAST FACTS
Proposed Facility: 273,520-square-foot medical products distribution center.
Construction: Pending approvals, Cardinal Health could begin construction by the end of 2012 and finish within about 12 months.
Approvals: The company has filed an application with the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and is awaiting a number of City Council approvals before details can be finalized. The company advises that its relocation to the site within city limits is dependent upon those approvals and a robust package of local, state and federal economic development incentives.
Service Area: Cardinal Health will also serve surrounding areas in the state of Michigan, as well as northern Ohio and northern Indiana, from its new location.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 June 2012 18:43
Category: Community Written by Nicole Black
Members of the Detroit Police Department, clergymen from across Detroit, and students and organizers of the Youth Voice organization at the “Detroit Night Walks” press conference.
The conference was held to announce the new law enforcement initiative called “Detroit Night Walks”, a part of a large nation campaign called “Cease Fire” to make the streets of Detroit safer.
“We are implementing Cease Fire in Detroit, which includes prevention, intervention and enforcement,” said US Attorney Barbara McQuade.
The new initiative is a partnership between community leaders and police officers where members of the community take a more active role in keeping their communities safe.
“We are sending a spiritual message and hopefully opening up the lines of communication in the neighborhood,” said Bishop Edgar L. Vann II.
The “Detroit Night Walks” initiative is based off a similar initiative in place in Boston that has worked to keep their streets safer.
Last Updated on Thursday, 24 May 2012 17:35
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