Friday, May 29, 2009

Old School Friday: "This is dedicated to...My Dad"

Stratford Sherman Hilliard
March 31 1920 - February 2 2009
Fort Smith Arkansas and Detroit Michigan
My Dad, Stratford S. Hilliard, passed away on Feb. 2 2009, two months before his 89th birthday.
We played his favorite song: "On the Sunny Side of the Street", by Louis Artmstrong
You can read about my beloved Dad here...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Things to Do Thursdays: Detroit Belle Isle Park--Largest in America

OK Detroiters, when is the last time you've been to Belle Isle?


Belle Isle is a 982 acre (3.9 km²; 2.42 sq mi) island park in the Detroit River managed by the Detroit Recreation Department. It is connected to the rest of the city by the MacArthur Bridge. It is the largest island park in the United States.
It is home to the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory (1904), the Detroit Yacht Club, the Detroit Boat Club, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, a Coast Guard post, and a municipal golf course. The city maintains a Nature Center where visitors are able to traverse wooded trails and view wildlife natural habitats. The island includes a half-mile (800 m) swimming beach.

Belle Isle was founded as the largest city-owned park in America in 1845; it was landscaped in the late 19th century by Frederick Law Olmstead, the landscaper of Central Park in Manhattan. (Belle Isle is larger than Central Park!) The Lighthouse on Belle Isle was designed by Albert Kahn.

What can you do at Belle Isle?
The Nature Zoo
The Athletic Complex
Check out Belle Isle this weekend!  Discover or re-discover the joys of nature right in the City of Detroit!

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Automotive Bankruptcies--What Will Happen?

Copyright: Mike Thompson, Detroit Free Press

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits: Wheelhouse Detroit


The warm weather is finally here to stay--for a few months, at least!  It's time to get outside and get some exercise! If it's been awhile since you've been bike riding, go down to the 
Detroit River right at the beautiful Detroit Riverwalk
You can rent a bicycle at the Wheelhouse Detroit and ride the whole three miles of the Detroit Riverwalk!

Yes, right here in Detroit: a full-service bicycle shop!

Wheelhouse Detroit is a bicycle shop that offers rentals, retail, service and tours.

Hours of Operation:
March & April: Friday to Sunday 11am to 7pm
May to September: Open Daily 10am to 8pm
October & November: Friday to Sunday 11am to 7pm

Contact us:
Phone: 313-656-BIKE (2453)

Keep up to date at our blog:

Where is Wheelhouse Detroit located: it's at the water on "Atwater Street", of course!

1340 E. Atwater Street
Rivard Plaza on the Detroit RiverWalk
Detroit, MI 48207
For driving directions, please see our location map.
Free parking available in an adjacent lot.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday Milestones: Elmwood Historic Cemetery

Today is Memorial Day 2009, a time to reflect on those whose lives, work, and sacrifice made it possible for us to enjoy this day in relative freedom and really relative prosperity.  The Elmwood Historic Cemetery on the eastside of Detroit is the oldest continuously operating non-denominational cemetery in the State of Michigan. Interestingly, the Elmwood Cemetery has always been racially integrated; the first fully integrated cemetery in the entire Midwest of the United States. There is also a special section at Elmwood for a Civil War Memorial. Elmwood Cemetery, which has grown in size from its original 42 acres to the present 86 acres, was designed by the famous 19th century architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York City.

Famous Detroiters and Michiganders who rest at Elmwood Historic Cemetery include (notice how many "Detroit street names" you'll recognize):

Make sure to take some time today to remember those who are no longer with us...especially those who gave the Greatest Sacrifice in the United States Armed Services...
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Things to Do Thursday: Dequindre Cut Greenway

Spring is here in Detroit! (Isn't it?)

A great place to visit this weekend is the "old-is-new" Dequindre Cut Greenway. From the Boll Family Y Newsletter:

The Dequindre Cut Greenway, an urban recreational path connecting the east riverfront with the Eastern Market district in downtown Detroit, will open to the public on Thursday, May 14 with a grand opening ceremony. While the bike path is already accessible, the grand opening ceremony will include activities and entertainment between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The 1.2-mile paved greenway was developed through a public, nonprofit and private partnership. The Dequindre Cut is part of a growing network of greenway paths developing around the city.

At more than 60 feet wide, the below-grade trail serves as a paved biking, walking and running path while still offering plenty of surrounding green space. It stretches from Woodbridge Street to Gratiot Avenue, 1.2 miles, with exit ramps at Lafayette Boulevard and Gratiot.

Model D told a little history of the Dequindre Cut:

November 22, 2005
Not so long ago, up until 1982 to be exact, a metro Detroit commuter could hop on a passenger train in Royal Oak and jump off within a short walking distance of the then-6-year-old Renaissance Center.

The train would race south through Ferndale, slice through the western boundary of Hamtramck, and through various residential and industrial sections of Detroit, before it reached a declining piece of landscape called the Dequindre Cut. The track entered the Cut on the northern edge of Eastern Market, near Wilkins St., and remained 25 feet below the surface until it matched the grade of the streetscape in what was then a growing nightclub and restaurant district called Rivertown.

Commercial train traffic continued for a few more years, followed by 20 years of abandonment and neglect. As so often happens in Detroit, however, that combination stoked fires of artistic inspiration, creating a natural canvas for guerrilla painters, sculptors and writers, who remade portions of the mile-long stretch into an unofficial art park.
This is a wonderful chance to get outside with your bikes and ride around Downtown Detroit!

Visit the Sidebar for More Good Information!

Shameless Plug: visit my husband's blog "The DSpot"...
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Friday, May 8, 2009

Old School Friday: Best Soul Train Performance


Well, this week's "Old School Friday" topic was supposed to be "Favorite Soul Train Performance", but Don Cornelius has removed all Soul Train videos from YouTube! Bummer!

Hey, Don!  What ever happened to: 
"Love, Peace, and SO-O-O-OUL!" ????????

Redeux News: Happy 50th Little Caesar's!

Today is the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Little Caesar's Pizza now headquartered in Detroit Michigan!

Mike and Marian Illitch began with one store in Garden City Michigan in 1959; later moving their headquarters to Farmington Hills. In the late 1980s, Mike Illitch announced that he was moving Little Caesar's to downtown Detroit in the area of the then-forlorn Fox Theatre area. Everyone said: "Why in the world would you move from the 'burbs to Detroit"?!?!?
But the Illitch's had a vision for a rebuilding of Detroit. First, they renovated Fox Theatre which led to the whole revitalized theatre district of Foxtown; then they bought the Detroit Red Wings which led to Hockeytown; next was the purchase of the Detroit Tigers and the building of Comerica Park; the development of Olympia Entertainment (do YOU remember the Olympia Stadium--if so, you ARE an Old School Detroiter!); and Marian Illitch is a major owner of the Motor City Casino!

(Now, people are asking: "When are the Illitches going to buy the Detroit Lions? PLEASE!")

All because Mike and Marian Illitch believed in Detroit! While some of their acquisitions and decisions may have been controversial, it cannot be argued that the Illitch Family and the entire Little Caesar's Empire have been good for Detroit!

All Photo Credits (except Mike Illitch [Forbes], Olympia Stadium, and Little Caesar's): ME with my Blackberry Bold!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Redeux News: Sheila Cockrel to Retire from Detroit City Council

Detroit City Councilwoman Sheila M. Cockrel, widow of former Detroit City Councilman Ken Cockrel, Sr. and step-mother of Interim Detroit Mayor Ken Cockrel, Jr. has decided not to run for a fifth term on the Council. No specific reason for her decision has as yet been given.

The Council Primary Election will be held in August, 2009; the top 18 vote-getters will vie for the nine Council seats in the November 2009 General election.

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Things to Do Thursday: Go Where No One Has Gone Before...

Calling all Trekkies!

The new Star Trek pre-quel opens this week!

You've GOT to see this movie in IMAX!

Reserve your tickets here...

There is an entire Star Trek Exhibition at the 

After you've seen the movie, leave your reviews in the Comments Section!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits: Cinco de Mayo

Today is Cinco de Mayo in Mexico and in the United States; a celebration of Mexican and Mexican-American Heritage and a commemoration of the victory of the Mexican Army over the French Army of Napoleon III. A brief history of Cinco de Mayo from the Model D Website:
La Batalla de Puebla (The Battle of Puebla): Following independence from Spain in 1821, the Mexican-American War, and the Mexican Civil War, in 1862 Mexico found itself the target of French colonialism. Napoleon III decided to expand the French empire into the Americas, and sent troops to invade Mexico. En route to Mexico’s capital, the long-undefeated French army — estimated at between 6,000 and 8,000 troops — was met by an scantily equipped but very determined Mexican and Native American militia numbering half those of the French. The Mexicans, led by General Ignacio S. Zaragoza, persevered and won the battle. To this day, Cinco de Mayo is enthusiastically celebrated in the state of Puebla, Mexico, where the French army was stopped.
 The City of Detroit has the largest concentration of people of Mexican heritage in Michigan! The Cinco de Mayo Parade was held last Sunday, but there is still plenty of time today to celebrate by patronizing one of the great restaurants in Mexicantown.

Photo Credits: Model D

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Redeux News & Opinion: Mayoral Election Today!


Today, May 5, 2009 is Election Day in Detroit (again!)...make sure that you cast your vote for:

1) Mayor
2) Revising the Detroit City Charter

Before you say to yourself that you're too busy to vote today, remember the hundreds of thousands who fought and died throughout United States History for your right to vote...they weren't too busy!

Yes, today will the 2nd of four mayoral elections in 2009 in Detroit, but that is exactly why you should vote to begin the process of selecting members of the Charter Commission for the revision of the City Charter on next November's ballot!

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday Milestones: Michigan Central Depot Train Station

The Michigan Central Depot , which still stands majestically on Michigan Avenue over the Corktown section of Detroit near the Ambassador Bridge , was built in the early part of the 20th century after the original Detroit train station burned down in 1913. Designed and built in neoclassical style by the same architects responsible for the New York Grand Central Station, the building included underground train tracks and 18 stories above which were meant for office space, but never completed.

Photo Credits: Forgotten Detroit and Laura Sternberg

Passenger cars for personal transportation were not common at the time the Michigan Central Depot was built, but by the 1960s, the expanding use of automobiles, the newly built interstate highway system, and the growth of air travel had all but rendered train travel obsolete. The Michigan Central Depot, which was meant to be connected to the rest of Detroit by street car, was never meant to be isolated from the main area of downtown Detroit. The plan was to have a thriving business district develop around the Depot, but this plan also never materialized. In the 1970s, Amtrak bought the Depot, and over a million dollars of renovations were completed, but to no avail. In 1988, the last train departed the Depot and it was closed.

There are have been several proposals for reviving the Michigan Central Depot as office space or other uses, but the only times the Michigan Depot has been used recently is as movie backgrounds (The Island--2005; The Transformers--2006). Historic preservationists are still working to save the building, but at present the Detroit City Council is moving ahead to demolish the Michigan Central Depot and find other uses for the site.

Shameless Plug: please read my husband's blog, The DSpot...

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Friday, May 1, 2009