Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shopping in Detroit: Doggie Daycare!

Doggie Daycare? Yes, there is such a thing, and the City of Detroit has such a facility located right in the historic Midtown Neighborhood (formerly known as "The Cass Corridor"). Canine to Five is a daycare center, grooming facility, and boarding complex. Canine to Five offers both indoor and outdoor cage-free playspaces, separate areas for puppies and older dogs, as well as kennel cages for overnight boarding. The owner and staff are knowledgeable in first aid for canines, CPR, and are specialists in animal behavior. Customers love the specialized attention given their dogs; the facility even emails pictures and updates to the dogs' owners if/when they are out of town.

Canine to Five, owned by Liz Blondy, opened in 2005. Ms. Blondy is also a co-founder of Open City Detroit, a Detroit entrepreneur networking group. Dog "parents" can bring their does to evening and weekend "playdates", as well as sign up their "children" for behavior classes and twice-weekly walks along the Detroit Riverwalk with the Riverfront Canine Club. Doggie owners can even schedule "private doggie parties" at Canine to Five; which is a member of the American Kennel Boarding Association.

Canine to Five is located at 3443 Cass Avenue between Martin Luther King Blvd. and Peterboro; close to Wayne State, the Detroit Medical, and Downtown Detroit.

9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Drop off as early as 7 a.m.
(313) 831-DOGS (3647)

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Detroit's Unique Neighborhoods: Sherwood Forest

Sherwood Forest, a Detroit Historic District on the northwest side of Detroit, was originally platted in 1917. It actually consists of two neighborhoods: Sherwood Forest and Sherwood Forest Manor. The neighborhood includes approximately 435 homes which were built mostly in the 1920s and 1930s. It is bounded on the south by Seven Mile road, on the west by Livernois, on the north by Pembroke, and on the east by Parkside. The Sherwood Forest Association began in 1929, and has been active ever since.

 The oldest home in Sherwood Forest
built in 1922

The homes in Sherwood Forest are architectecturally unique, and neighborhood property restrictions were readjusted in the 1980s to enure the integrity of the houses. Over the years, the community of Sherwood Forest has worked hard to both preserve the neighborhood and to grow and change with the times. Some of the challenges that have been overcome include: blocking the construction of an airport and various factories, re-foresting the area after the Dutch Elm disease blight, and ending redlining.

The Sherwood Forest Association and the homeowners have several activities throughout the year to enhance the feeling of community and keep the neighborhood vibrant. The benefits of Sherwood Forest's location include proximity to the University Commons shopping district and most major freeways, quiet winding streets, and a private security patrol.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Obama or McCain? Which Tax Cut Is Better for You?

There has been much discussion of taxes and tax cuts and who is really "middle class" in this election year.  Although Senator John McCain feels that people who make $5M are "middle class", most of us have incomes nowhere near that figure.

Senator Barack Obama maintains that his tax policy will cut taxes for about 95% of Americans; many pundits put the figure closer to 85%.  Those whose income is $250,000 or more would pay slightly more; but under the proposed plan of John McCain, those who are really middle class would have a smaller tax cut.

What about you?  How would you and your family fare under either of the proposed plans?  Try this calculator and see for yourself!

How much will Barack Obama cut your taxes?

Despite the facts laid out in the presidential candidates' published tax policies, half of Americans still believe that Barack Obama will raise their taxes.
Barack Obama would cut my taxes by: $
John McCain would cut my taxes by: $
Barack Obama would cut my taxes by: $ more than John McCain.

What's your Obama tax cut? Let's find out!

What's your family's filing status? (elderly: head of household at least 65 years old)
How many dependent children are in your family?
What's closest to your Adjusted Gross Income?
Data courtesy of http://ObamaTaxCut.com/
Make sure that you and every you know is registered to vote! 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Doing It in Detroit: RenCen4 Movie Theaters

Betcha didn't know that you can attend a first-class movie theatre right here in Detroit! The RenCen 4 Movie Theater is located in Tower 200 of the GM Renaissance Building.  It is a completely updated, state-of-the-art, 4-screen, 680-seat complex offering first-run movies.

The movie-going experience is enhanced with digital surround sound, a concession stand, and many other modern amenities.  Additionally, the RenCen4 Movie Theater Complex can host private theater parties and design custom special events, private parties, and business meetings and presentations.

An added benefit of "going to the movies" at the RenCen is the opportunity to visit the many and varied RenCen Shops on the Riverfront and in the Towers of the RenCen

Parking is free for theater goers; including free valet parking and free parking in the Beubien Parking structure--parking tickets are validated with movie ticket purchase.  A variety of movies are shown on the four screens; presently, the theaters are showing (2) PG-13 films, (1) PG film, and (1) R film.

 The Movie Hotline Number is: 313-259-2370.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Denver Democratic Convention 2008

How Does YOUR Presidential Nominee Make You Feel About the Future of America?
Photos Credit: Al Rogers
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Shopping in Detroit: Allemon's Landscape Center

They "sell the earth" over on the eastside of Detroit. Allemon's Landscape Center, located at 17727 Mack at University, near Grosse Pointe, has used that motto since the humble beginning of the business in 1929.  Bill Allemon was a widower with three young children and few job prospects at the beginning of the Great Depression.  All he owned was a piece of land at the edge of Detroit, so he started selling leftover soil from Grosse Pointe building projects.  Over the years, Bill and the children, Florence, Henry, and Joe built the business into the largest gardening and landscaping supplies on the Eastside.

In the 1940s, Florence married Hank Tavery, who later joined her brothers and father in growing and running the store. In 1989, the third generation of Allemons took over the store; today there is a large selection of garden plants, accessories, supplies, and holiday items.  The business also has an eBay store, and still delivers soil and mulch. For almost 80 years, Allemon's Landscape Center has been in Detroit; it is still open seven days a week. There is a wonderful garden center right here in the "D"!

Monday - Saturday
8:00 AM - 6:00PM
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

PHONE: 313.882.9085    FAX: 313.882.9036

Monday, September 22, 2008

Detroit's Unique Neighborhoods: Indian Village Historic District

Indian Village is a residential area in the city of Detroit which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.  The neighborhood is over 100 years old; the first home being built in 1895.  Originally part of the "French Ribbon"  land-grant tracts owned by Francois Rivard and Jacques St. Aubin, the mostly farming area also had a mile-long oval race track that was the site of several Michigan State Fairs in the 1860s and was also known as the Hamtramck Race Course.
According to the Indian Village Historical Collections, originally, the land belonged to Francois Rivard and Jacques St. Aubin, recipients of French land-grant "ribbon" farms, long narrow strips of land that gave each farmer some river frontage. Abraham Cook acquired the farms between 1811 and 1815. The area consisted mostly of farms, and a couple of upper-class river cottages, but the main attraction was a mile long oval race track. The track was the site of several Michigan State Fairs during the 1860s and was known as the Hamtramck Race Course. The very first Indian Village home, built in 1895, was later used as a studio for station WXYZ and the home of the original radio drama The Lone Ranger. Today Indian Village, so named because one of the original developers, John Owen, thought the name sounded romantic, encompasses three streets: Seminole, Iroquois, and Burns bounded by East Jefferson Avenue and Mack Avenue.
There are at least seventeen types of architectural styles mostly built between 1895 and the late 1920s.  Many homes include ballrooms, elevators, servants' quarters, and carriage houses larger than many of today's modern homes.  Exquisite carvings and crownmouldings are common; as are multiple fireplaces, many surrounded with tiles from Pewabic Pottery. The Indian Village homes were built by some of Detroit's most famous architects including Albert Kahn, Louis Kamper, and William Stratton. Many early twentieth-century magnates such as Edsel Ford, Arthur Buhl, and J. Burgess Book, Sr., and Bernard Stroh had homes in Indian Village.
Photo Credits: Indian Village Association

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Friday, September 19, 2008

A New Beginning for Detroit: Kenneth Cockrel Sr. and Jr.

Today is the first full day on the job of the new interim mayor of Detroit, Kenneth Cockrel, Jr.  For those of us who were around in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as those who were not, there is a certain "Circle of Life" feeling seeing Ken Cockrel Jr. become Mayor of Detroit: his father, Kenneth Cockrel Sr. almost certainly would have been Mayor of Detroit had he not died suddenly.

Ken Cockrel Sr. 1938 - 1989
(Courtesy: Detroit African-American History Project)

An attorney and politician, Ken Cockrel Sr. served as one of Detroit's most powerful voices for social justice in the 1960s and 1970s. A self described Marxist-Leninist, Cockrel relentlessly challenged the racial and economic status quo in Detroit through his defense of African Americans in the courtroom, as an activist against police brutality, and then during a term as a city council member. Through his efforts on behalf of the people of Detroit, Cockrel became a leader in the city and was widely touted as a future mayor at the time that he died suddenly from a heart attack.
Cockrel was born in 1938 in Royal Oak Township. His father worked at the Ford Highland Park plant and his mother was the first African-American graduate of Lincoln High School in Ferndale, Michigan. Both his parents died when Cockrel was twelve years old and he went to live with relatives in Detroit. Cockrel attended Northwestern and Central High Schools but dropped out when he was seventeen. He served in the United States Air Force as an airman second class. After his discharge in 1959, Cockrel entered Wayne State University and graduated in 1964 with a degree in political science. He immediately enrolled in Wayne State's law school and received his law degree in 1967.
After receiving his law degree, Cockrel became a partner in the law firm of Philo, Maki, Cockrel, Rubb, Spearman, and Cooper and immediately launched a legal career that would change the social and political landscape of Detroit. Through a series of highly publicized cases, Cockrel highlighted the oppressive social structure under which Detroit African Americans lived. In his first such case, Cockrel, defended Alfred Hibbitt, who was accused of shooting two police officers in a 1969 shootout at the New Bethel Baptist Church. Cockrel won an acquittal for Hibbitt by citing the racist activities of the Detroit Police Department.
Cockrel burst into the consciousness of all Detroit during the trial when he was charged with contempt for calling the presiding Recorders Court judge a 'lawless, racist, rogue bandit, thief, pirate, honky dog fool." He successfully defended himself against the contempt charge, partly by exposing that the Wayne County Jury Commission systematically insured that juries were overwhelmingly white, male, and middle class. In 1970 Cockrel successfully defended James Johnson who shot and killed a co-worker at a Chrysler auto plant. Cockrel won an acquittal by demonstrating the oppressive working conditions at the plant, which he argued pushed the defendant to a mental breakdown that resulted in the shooting.
Ken Cockrel Sr. in the 1970s (left) 
Cockrel also became the leader of the citizens group that led the protests against the Detroit Police Department's STRESS (Stop the Robberies-Enjoy Safe Streets) unit, which had a long record of police brutality in the African-American community. His successful defense of Hayward Brown, who was accused of shooting a Detroit police officer, hinged on demonstrating that Brown fired in self-defense because the actions of the STRESS unit had created a climate of fear among Detroit's African Americans. Coleman Young disbanded the STRESS unit when he became mayor in 1974.
Cockrel was elected to the Detroit City Council in 1977 where he continued his fight for social justice. He was particularly vocal in his opposition to the granting of tax abatements to businesses in an attempt to keep them in the city. Cockrel retired from the Council in 1982 and returned to private legal practice. Cockrel's dedication was recognized by a variety of organizations. In 1973 he received the Distinguished Achievement Medal from the Detroit branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Outstanding Leadership Award in Civil Affairs from the Cotillion Club. In 1976 he received the Frank D. Reeves Award from the National Conference of Black Lawyers.

Former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has left the building...
Ken Cockrel Jr.
Age: 42
(Courtesy of Detroit City Council)
Kenneth Cockrel Jr. was President of the Detroit City Council; which means he immediately transitions into the post of Interim Mayor of the City of Detroit. [Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel is Ken Cockrel Jr.'s stepmother.]
Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr has served on the Detroit City Council since 1998. A former journalist, Wayne County Commissioner and community activist, Councilman Cockrel made history as the youngest person ever elected to this body in 1997. He was reelected in 2001 and was elevated to the position of President Pro Tem. Cockrel was elected to his third term in November 2005 and elevated to the position of President after receiving more votes than any other City Council candidate. 

In 2006, President Cockrel passed an ordinance designated the areas around public libraries, schools, parks, recreation centers, and public pools as drug free zones. The ordinance stiffens the penalties for those who are found to be trafficking illegal narcotics in these areas. President Cockrel is also currently working ordinances which target those who post illegal signs on city property and the owners of abandoned, dangerous buildings. During this year Cockrel also launched the Friendly Neighbor Program, a pilot project being done in partnership with Faith Community Homebuyers. The program seeks to place city-owned homes in need of in repair into the hands of residents who want first-time homes. In 2007, Cockrel passed an ordinance which prohibits Detroit Police officers and other city employees from racial profiling. That same year Cockrel launched the Detroit City Council Green Task Force which educates the Detroit Community on green principles and encourage the implementation of green practices in new construction, existing buildings, neighborhood communities, and government operations.

President Cockrel. is the son of the late attorney, community activist, and former Detroit City Councilman, Kenneth V. Cockrel and Carol Cockrel, a former Detroit Public Schools teacher. He is a native Detroiter with a strong commitment to the people of the City of Detroit. The President meets weekly with community groups and regularly holds town meetings on issues ranging from drug trafficking and illegal dumping to entrepreneurship and economic development. Each year, the President gives away more than 500 turkeys to senior citizens and needy families through his Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Give-Away.

A cum laude graduate of Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism, President Cockrel is a former reporter for the Detroit Free Press, the Grand Rapids Press and the Cincinnati Inquirer. He is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University as well as the Program for State and Local Government Officials at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

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Detroit Jewel: Marcus Belgrave

 Marcus Belgrave is a Detroit Jewel. He was recently awarded the title of Jazz Master Laureate for the City of Detroit by the Detroit City Council. Marcus Belgrave, a jazz trumpeter in the style of the late Louis Armstrong, has played with all of the jazz greats; including Ray Charles, Wynton Marsalis, Yusef Lateef, Curtis Fuller, Charles McPherson, and Ron Carter.  He has also collaborated with Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie, Eric Dolphy, Aretha Franklin, and Joe Henderson. He has mentored and recorded with many other musical legends.  Although his singing style often brings to mind that of Louis Armstrong, his music covers the entire genre of jazz; from early 20th-century New Orleans, through Swing and Bebop, to contemporary jazz. 

But to call Marcus Belgrave "just" a jazz trumpeter is a serious understatement. He is an educator, a composer, an arranger, and a producer. He is also a professor of music at Oberlin University in Oberlin Ohio, and a co-founder of the Jazz Studies Program at The Detroit Metro Arts Complex as well as the Jazz Development Workshop; both in Detroit.

Born in Chester Pennsylvania, Marcus Belgrave moved to Detroit in the mid-1960s to become a staff trumpeter with Motown Records. He was also an original member of the Lincoln Jazz Center Orchestra. Detroit City Councilwoman Joann Watson presented Mr. Belgrave with his award at a ceremony at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History.

Marcus Belgrave, Jazz Master Laurate for the City of Detroit: a Detroit Jewel.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Doing It in Detroit: The Detroit Science Center

 Have you been to the Detroit Science Center? If it's been a while since you or your family have been on a "field trip", the Detroit Science Center a good place to start.  You can explore the wonders of technology and science hands-on and with the most modern digital effects available, including Michigan's only IMAX Dome Theatre.

This weekend, just in time for the autumnal equinox, you and your family can stargaze therough a digitzied telescope that rotates to show the entire group of stars and constellations that will be appearing in the night sky for the fall season. The views of star clusters and nebulae are accompanied by Dolby Digital Surround Sound. 

Other attractions at the Detroit Science Center include: "Kids Town" where children aged 5 years old and younger can explore and learn science through play; hands-on exhibitions; and rotating and permanent exhibitions.  The Detroit Science is located in Detroit's Cultural Center at the corner of Warren and John R; several parking lots are located nearby.

Different membership levels are available online or by contacting the Membership Department @ 313.577.8400, X433; or by email: membership@sciencedetroit.org.  


To enroll online,  Just click on the link of the the membership level that applies to you. You can also purchase a gift membership for friends and family!

Admits 1 named student or senior citizen over 60 with I.D.
$2 Planetarium and IMAX® admission
Admits 1 adult and 1 guest
$2 Planetarium and IMAX® admission
Admits up to 2 grandparents and all grandchildren under 18
$2 Planetarium and IMAX® admission for each included member
Admits 2 adults all registered children under 18
$2 Planetarium and IMAX® admission for each included member
Admits 2 adults, all registered children under 18 plus 2 guests
$2 Planetarium and IMAX® admission for each included member and guests
Admits 2 adults, 2 guests and all registered children under 18
FREE UNLIMITED PLANETARIUM AND IMAX® ADMISSION for all included members and guests

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: 100 Years of GM

The First One Hundred Years

September 16 1908-September 16 2008

Billy Durant in an Oldsmobile

The 1900s

1918 Buick E46

The 1920s

1928 LaSalle

General Motors Headquarters Building in Detroit

The 1930s

1938 Cadillac Fleetwood

The 1940s

1949 Oldsmobile 88

The 1950s

1953 Corvette

The 1960s

1968 Pontiac GTO

The 1970s

1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass

The 1980s

1983 Chevy Citation

The 1990s

1999 Cadillac Evoq

GM Headquarters at the RenCen

The 2000s

2003 Corvette 5th Generation

The Future in the 21st Century

2010 Chevy Volt Electric Hybrid

Photo Credits: Detroit News, Flint Journal, GM, NYPL Digital Gallery

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