Category: News Briefs - Original Written by by Roz Edward
Developers at Detroit's Gateway Marketplace have something to brag about. Construction for a Meijer Superstore, the development's anchor store and the corner stone of the Woodward revitalization project is ahead of schedule. Leasing on the $72 million project also is moving forward, and the center will be 95 percent leased or better this fall, said Bruce Babiarz, a spokesman for the developer, Southfield-based Redico
“There’s a resurgence in Detroit. It’s not only downtown, but it’s happening here at Eight Mile and Woodward. We’re building a brand-new shopping center from the ground up. It’s the largest in terms of size in the city in decades,” Babiarz said.
The Meijer Siperstore which is slated to open in July of this year and the Gateway project are expected to spur development in the surrounding area along Woodward, particularly the former Michigan State Fairgrounds, Babiarz added. “It’s got real potential, and the success of this project may be the catalyst for that property.”
Meijer Inc. is starting its hiring push to bring about 400 of the estimated 700 jobs to the Gateway project. Other retailers slated to open this year include discount retailer Marshalls, apparel retailer Dots, PNC Bank and a McDonald’s. In all, the project has more than 325,000 square feet of retail.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 07:33
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle
As GM Student Corps members, they’ll help improve neighborhoods, learn valuable life skills
A group of 110 Detroit-area high school students are about to begin paid summer internships as members of the brand-new GM Student Corps, a program introduced today by General Motors North America President Mark Reuss that combines service, education and mentoring.
The students representing 11 United Way Network of Excellence Schools will work in teams of 10 to develop and implement service projects in Detroit-area neighborhoods. Helping to train and mentor them are 60 GM retirees and 12 GM student interns from the University of Detroit Mercy, where many students major in service-based programs. Employee volunteers from TeamGMCares also will assist throughout the summer.
The teams are currently planning their projects. Work is scheduled to begin in mid-June and conclude in August.
“Improving the quality of life in our communities means more than writing a check,” said Reuss. “It also requires investing in our young people, teaching them how good it feels to see their hard work help others, and providing them with the skills they need to lead and succeed as professionals and as citizens. Once you serve, you’re hooked for life.”
A unique aspect of the GM Student Corps is that it unites people from a range of age groups and walks of life to work toward a common goal – improving local neighborhoods – while helping students develop career skills.
Schools participating in the GM Student Corps are: Central Collegiate Academy, Detroit Public Schools Cody Campus, East Detroit High School, Hamtramck High School, Harper Woods High School, Henry Ford High School, Madison High School, Melvindale High School, Detroit Public Schools Osborn Campus, River Rouge High School and Van Dyke Lincoln High School.
In addition to managing every aspect of their projects, from budgeting to planning to implementation, the students will meet periodically with mentors for life skills sessions following a curriculum developed by Junior Achievement.
Examples of service projects might include painting and cleanups at local parks, planting and tending a community garden, setting up food banks or meal programs and others. Life skills sessions include career development, banking and finance, and health and safety.
Also, interns will be exposed to various career and educational opportunities at Focus: HOPE, Junior Achievement “Financial Park,” the GM Design Center and GM Heritage Center, the GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant and the UDM campus.
GM will pay for the budgeted student projects and provide Chevrolet Express vans and Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickups so adult mentors can transport materials and students to project sites and life skills classes.
Throughout the summer, students will be encouraged to document their projects on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #GMStudentCorps.
GM Student Corps members were selected based on leadership potential, overall energy, enthusiasm and grit, school activities, citizenship and academic performance. At the end of the summer, leaders from each student team will formally present their programs and results to Reuss and his staff. In addition, the GM Summer Corps experience will be chronicled in a documentary filmed by UDM Professor Jason Roche.
Leading the 60 GM retirees is former GM executive Mike DiGiovanni, who retired in 2010 and is now a full-time professor of economics at the UDM.
“As retirees, we look forward to joining forces with current company leaders as a unified GM to effect meaningful change in Detroit,” said DiGiovanni, who grew up on the city’s west side. “But most of all, we want this program to be rewarding, fun and life-changing for the students.”
Last Updated on Monday, 20 May 2013 19:32
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by michigan Chronicle Staff
Funding Provided for Inspection of Aerial Ladders, Ground Ladders
DETROIT – 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 Wednesday, 15 May 2013 12:14
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Amber L. Bogins
UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, disappointed and angered by the withdrawal of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from a Detroit hearing on foreclosures, will proceed with plans to co-host the May 20 event. “This was our chance for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to listen and learn about how destructive their policy of foreclosure and eviction is for metro Detroit,” says Estrada, who anticipates spirited testimony at the People’s Hearing. “They need to see and hear the evidence that their policies are hurting working families and undermining neighborhoods.”
Following two months of discussion and planning, the federal agencies have withdrawn from the hearing at the direction of legal counsel, claiming-- at the 11th hour-- that it would be “awkward” for officials to hear testimony from homeowners who are in litigation fighting eviction by Fannie or Freddie.
Throughout the planning process, organizers of the event provided full disclosure of the anticipated agenda and details of the public hearing. Officials from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the failing mortgage investors taken over by the federal government in 2008, agreed in March to come to Detroit and hear testimony from homeowners, union members, and community leaders about the foreclosure crisis. Fannie and Freddie, which own or insure more than half of all residential mortgages in the country, have foreclosed on more than 15,000 families in Wayne County since the government takeover by the Federal Housing and Finance Agency (FHFA). Thousands more have lost their homes in Oakland and Macomb.
Fannie and Freddie have declared a moratorium on foreclosures in areas stricken by Hurricane Sandy. Estrada and organizers from Detroit Eviction Defense argue that they should do the same for Metro Detroit, flattened by banking fraud, mass unemployment, and the resulting storm surge of foreclosures. They are also calling on Fannie and Freddie to reverse their current policy of refusing to lower the principal on “underwater” loans where the balance owed is higher than the plummeting market value of the home.
Testimony at the May 20 hearing will be videoed, and organizers vow to hand-deliver the recording to federal officials. “The UAW sees the fight to halt foreclosures as part of its historic commitment to social justice for all working families,” said Estrada. FHFA officials have committed to scheduling a discussion with UAW representatives, community leaders, and public officials as soon as possible to review policy alternatives specific to the Detroit area.
A new report, “A Hurricane Without Water: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Foreclosure Crisis in Metro Detroit,” will be available at the hearing and at http://www.detroitevictiondefense.com/
Last Updated on Friday, 17 May 2013 11:13
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
With a little less than two weeks to go before the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix takes over the Motor City’s famed island park for three days of fun, excitement and racing, preparations for the fast and furious event are on schedule, according to Grand Prix officials. The event, which will be held from May 31– June 2, is expected to draw more than 100,000-plus fans and will garner a national television audience of millions.
Grand Prix officials are working long days to assure that the event is entertaining and memorable as some of the world’s greatest race drivers will compete in some of the world’s most powerful and fastest cars. “We are moving forward,” said Charles Burns, general manager for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. “We are getting geared up for a first-class event. Roger Penske and Bud Denker (event chairman) have set the standard for excellence, and we have a great team that really wants to perform well and showcase the Grand Prix, Belle Isle, and the city of Detroit. So we are staying on top of all the details and preparations necessary to make this event successful.”
Staying on top of details has included a recent long drive from Detroit to Birmingham, Alabama for Burns. “Two of the three racing series that will be held on Detroit’s Belle Isle will be held at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham this weekend (April 5-7), said Burns, via cell phone, as he motored towards Birmingham. “So I’m going down to Birmingham to talk with officials from both series about some logistical things that we have to work through. In addition, I want to spread the good word down there about our great event on Belle Isle which is right around the corner.”
This year’s Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will feature the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans featuring the cars of the IZOD IndyCar Series, the Chevrolet GRAND-AM 200 at Belle Isle presented by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers with the sports cars of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series, and the Cadillac V-Series Challenge presented by the Metro Detroit Cadillac Dealers featuring the cars of the Pirelli World Challenge Championship Series. ABC will nationally televise the IndyCar races on Saturday and Sunday.
In addition to the various racing series, Grand Prix attendees will be entertained by national recording acts. On Friday, Detroit’s own Dwele will showcase his vocal talents on the MotorCity Casino Hotel Entertainment Stage as part of the Free Prix Day at the Grand Prix. On that Friday, everyone will be admitted to the Raceway at Belle Isle Park free of charge. “Dwele is a true Detroit success story and we’re very excited to bring his unique sound to the MotorCity Casino Hotel Entertainment Stage on Friday night at the Grand Prix,” said Bud Denker, chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. “With some great action on track Friday and Dwele highlighting a strong entertainment lineup, fans will have a terrific experience on Free Prix Day.” Dwele’s performance will follow a full opening day of track activity featuring practice and qualifying for the IZOD IndyCar Series, the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, and the Pirelli World Challenge Series on the newly-configured 2.3-mile Belle Isle street circuit.
The MotorCity Casino Hotel Entertainment Stage at the Grand Prix will also welcome rock icon Bret Michaels on Saturday evening and modern-rock band Plain White T’s on Sunday afternoon. Several other local artists will also perform on the stage throughout the weekend. Burns added that there will be something at the Grand Prix for everyone, including the Meijer Family Fun Zone and the Quicken Loans Go-Kart Track. He also said there will be some events beginning the Tuesday before the Grand Prix weekend. Stay tuned!
For Burns, Detroit has made a great impression on the West Lafayette, Indiana native. “I love Detroit,” said Burns, who moved to the Motor City last year. “There are so many positive things going on that the world doesn’t know about. When Roger Penske and Bud Denker offered me the opportunity to come to Detroit as the general manager for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, it was a no brainer. I saw it as an opportunity to come to a great city and work with an outstanding company (Penske Corporation) and a team of individuals committed to not only making the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix successful, but also committed to making Detroit a better place.
“We are all working long hours, but it has been great. It will be so special and rewarding to see our fans smile and having a grand time when they get to the island and witness all of the wonderful events and activities connected to this year’s Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 10:07
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