City Of Detroit – Daily Detroit http://www.dailydetroit.com What To Know And Where To Go In Metro Detroit Fri, 16 Feb 2018 12:04:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 LISTEN: How Indianapolis Funded Mass Transit, Stayed Alive In Amazon HQ2 Sweepstakes http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/16/listen-indianapolis-pulled-together-fund-bus-rapid-transit-stay-alive-amazon-hq2-sweepstakes/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/16/listen-indianapolis-pulled-together-fund-bus-rapid-transit-stay-alive-amazon-hq2-sweepstakes/#respond Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:48:36 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40876

If you listened to our recent episode on Amazon’s snub of Detroit (and you totally should), you’ll recall that the inclusion of Indianapolis among the 20 finalists for its HQ2 project was the topic of some surprise. Well, one of the reasons they made it was their efforts to develop 50 miles of Bus Rapid Transit and other improvements.

So we sent our correspondent Shianne Nocerini down to Indiana’s capital city to talk with Brian Luellen, vice president of public relations for IndyGo, the city’s transit agency, to find out what that city is doing right and compare and contrast our own (mostly failed) efforts here in Detroit.

“There’s been conversation about the need for enhanced transit for central Indiana for decades,” he said. “There was finally some private sector support, which helped catapult the conversation forward.” That might sound familiar to those of you who followed the story of our own mighty QLine.

Have a listen above. Here’s a rundown of the conversation:

7:25 — Luellen discusses how Indianapolis got its transit talks going about 10 years ago, including the Central Indiana Task Force

8:50 — We break down the support from the private sector

9:30 — Luellen discusses the Indy Connect initiative and private sector funding, plus the legislative history, and the 2016 ballot initiative that helped (mostly) fund IndyGo

11:30 — We break down some of the funding specifics, and compare it to local opposition to our own stalled Regional Transit Authority plan

12:47 — Luellen discusses Marion County service improvements, its hub-and-spoke system and how funding agreements in neighboring counties will change things

15:00 — On the public’s response and feedback to IndyGo’s scaled-back plan and how Indianapolis is the fastest-growing city for number of households without vehicles

18:00 — Jer points out that a quarter of Detroit households also don’t own cars and how our policies “institutionalize poverty”

19:40 — How transit “was a big selling point for Amazon in the site selling process”

20:25 — Will Indy’s transit plan actually help its citiizens and deliver on promises to deliver an economic boost? Luellen says Indianapolis is struggling with the “suburbanization of poverty” and the movement of jobs to the exurbs, though its downtown — like Detroit’s — is a vibrant employment cluster.

22:45 — We talk about not letting perfect be the enemy of the good, and the hub-and-spoke system that Indy is using

24:20 — Luellen discusses the long-range vision and $400 million price tag to build out the BRT system, plus the $54 million in annual income tax revenues to help cover operating costs

26:55 — Luellen on the projected economic impact of IndyGo’s transit plans, including plans for a before-and-after survey on the economic impact of the Red Line

29:15 — We bring it back home to talk about transit updates here in Detroit. Jer points out how our QLine — “the streetcar that leaves much to be desired” — pales in comparison to IndyGo’s BRT plans. Shianne discusses how BRT has helped economic development in Cleveland.

Here’s where to find us in Apple Podcasts, and please consider leaving us a review. It’d be so helpful! We’re also on Spotify, Stitcher Radio, and thanks to Podcast Detroit.

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Your City 5: Things To Do In Detroit For The Weekend Of February 16-28 http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/15/city-5-things-detroit-weekend-february-16-28/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/15/city-5-things-detroit-weekend-february-16-28/#respond Thu, 15 Feb 2018 17:28:42 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40865 Hello everyone!

I hope that this week has been going great for you all. This week has flown by and I am eagerly awaiting the weekend.

There are some pretty cool events happening this weekend. Some will get you dancing, others will awaken your taste buds, and some might help get your motor started…if you know what I mean.

Let’s get on with this list!

Dirty Show 19

Valentine’s Day might have been yesterday, but this weekend is going to be down right steamy at the Russell Industrial Center for the Dirty Show 19.

This is the 19th Anniversary for this event that showcases erotic art in all of it’s forms. Be ready to see erotic photography, paintings, illustration, mixed media, video, and performances from around the world.

Be on the lookout for my friend Lushes Lamoan, she’ll be performing at 9:30 p.m. on Friday night.

Tickets for the Dirty Show are $30 per person.

It looks like Friday night is the only night that has tickets remaining online, so you better buy them quickly. There will be limited tickets for sale at the door for $35.

This should go without saying, but the Dirty Show is for adults only. So cart those kids to your in laws or get babysitter for the evening.

When: Friday, February 16 and Saturday, February 17 from 7:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.

Where: The Russell Industrial Center 1600 Clay Street Detroit, Michigan 48211

That BIG 80’s Party 

It’s time to go back to a time with big hair, neon clothes, John Hughes Films, cassette tapes, and great music.

El Club will be going back to the 80’s this Friday night for That BIG 80’s Party. It’s time to go pull out your Stiff Stuff Hair Spray and Jordache jeans.

DJ Dave Paul will be coming to Detroit from San Fransisco to play all of the hits from that decade.

There will be a $15 cover at the door.

When: Friday, February 16 from 8:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.

Where: El Club 4114 W Vernor Highway, Detroit, Michigan 48209

Excuse me while I go and watch Heathers now.

2018 Academy Award Nominated Short Films 

The Academy Awards will be here before you know it, so why not go checkout all of the short animation and live action short films that have been nominated this year.

The Detroit Film Theatre inside the Detroit Institute of Arts will be showing the films through March 4.

Tickets for the film $9.50 general admission; $7.50 seniors, students, DIA members. You can purchase them here.

When: Friday, February 16- Sunday, February 18 multiple show times. 

Where: DFT Auditorium 5200 Woodward Avenue DetroitMichigan 48202

Chinese New Year at The Peterboro 

Chinese New Year is Friday, February 16 and The Peterboro will be celebrating all weekend.

There will be decorations, dishes and cocktails that are designed to honor the traditional holiday.

For those unfamiliar with the Chinese calendar 2018 is the Year of the Dog. People born under this sign are considered to be honest, loyal, the truest friends and the most reliable partners.

When: Thursday, February 15 through Sunday, February 18 times vary. 

Where: The Peterboro 420 Peterboro Street Detroit, Michigan 48201

Gin Blossoms at St. Andrews Hall 

If you went to high school in the 90’s like I did, then I’m going to guess you probably listened to a lot of Gin Blossoms.

Anyway, the band is currently touring for the 25th anniversary of their album New Miserable Experience and will be at St. Andrews Hall this Sunday night.

Tickets range from $25-$48 and can be purchased here.

When: Sunday, February 18 doors open at 7:00 p.m. 

Where: St. Andrews Hall 431 East Congress Street Detroit, Michigan 48226

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LISTEN: The Future Of Downtown Detroit, A New Detroit Zoo Nature Center, Rally’s Expansion And More http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/15/listen-future-downtown-detroit-new-detroit-zoo-nature-center-rallys-expansion/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/15/listen-future-downtown-detroit-new-detroit-zoo-nature-center-rallys-expansion/#respond Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:13:11 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40860

Welcome to your Daily Detroit News Byte podcast for February 15, 2018!

Here are your stories:

  • Nearly 350,000 people in Michigan have had their Driver’s Licenses suspended and the Driver Responsibility Fees will be erased.
  • The Detroit Zoo is going to build a new Great Lakes Nature Center in Macomb County
  • Federal funding for keeping the Great Lakes clean is in danger
  • A Ferndale Comic Book shop is closing
  • The Former DPD Headquarters designed by Albert Kahn may see new life
  • Detroit’s a happy place to work
  • Rally’s/Checkers is looking to expand in Metro Detroit
  • There will be a new shopping district by Little Caesars Arena
Eric Larson of the Downtown Detroit Partnership being interviewed at Little Caesars Arena.

Our feature interview is with Eric Larson of the Downtown Detroit Partnership on the future of downtown Detroit, what will happen to Joe Louis Arena, increasing rental rates in Detroit and decreasing property crime rates.

Thanks to our show sponsors:

MILO Digital – 

From strategization to execution, the digital marketing experts at MILO Digital ensure that your brand is a step ahead of the rest. http://www.milodetroit.com

The Detroit Regional Chamber – 

In today’s polarized environment, is it possible to instill civility in Detroit as a necessity in all that we do, and not simply a response in times of crisis?

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Detroit Policy Conference returns on Thursday, March 1 at MotorCity Casino Hotel and will focus on creating a culture of civility in Detroit. Learn more about the Conference and see the full agenda at http://www.detroitchamber.com/dpc

And of course, as always, thanks to Podcast Detroit: http://www.podcastdetroit.com

If you like the show, don’t forget to subscribe for free in Apple Podcasts or wherever fine podcasts are found. Here’s a link.

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Your Networking 5 For The Week Of February 13-19 http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/14/networking-5-week-february-13-19/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/14/networking-5-week-february-13-19/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 20:27:22 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40848 Greetings all of you go getters!

I hope this week has started off well for you.

We’ve been pretty busy over here at the Daily Detroit Headquarters, but busy is a good thing right?

There are some great events happening this week so go out there and meet some new people.

Casual Networking for Metro Detroit IT Professionals

You know the deal with the IT in the D Casual Networking socials. There are no agendas, no speeches, and no cover charge. This event is a great way to meet other people who are in the same field as you.

Tell Bob and Dave I said hello.

When: Thursday, February 15 from 5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Where: Tequila Blue Upstairs at 526 Main Street Royal Oak, Michigan 48067

Detroit Fintech Challenge Kickoff Information Session

The Detroit Fintech Challenge & Pitch Competition will be in April this year. The DFC Competition’s goal is to bring together entreprenuers, coders, and developers to help find solutions to challenges in the financial payment, banking and insurance sectors.

The winner will be eligible to win $50,000 in investment and support services from Kyyba Innovations, as well as mentorship from the organizations network.

The information session will be held this week at TechTown. The information session will go over the details on the competition, goals, rules, eligibility and team formation. You can register for the information session here.

When: Thursday, February 15 from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

Where: TechTown 440 Burroughs Street Detroit, MI 48202

Masters Mega Mixer at Synchronous Coworking

This is the first time for the Masters Mega Mixer, so let’s be sure to attend this networking event.

This is a pretty low key event with out speakers and formal addresses. Just bring your business cards and get ready to mingle with other business owners and freelancers.

There is a $10 admission. You can register for the event here.

When: Friday, February 16 from 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Where: Synchronous Coworking 100 Riverfront Drive Detroit, MI 48226

Business Parents Network-Connection Meet Up

Juggling parenthood, owning a business and networking can sometimes be difficult. Which is why the Spark Collaborative has started having a monthly networking event at the Detroit Parenting Collective.

Did I mention that it includes childcare? Because it does.

This is a great chance to meet the founders of the Spark Collaborative.

Tickets for the event range between $8 to $19 and are based on if you need childcare and how many children will be coming. You can purchase tickets here.

When: Friday, February 16 from 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

Where: Detroit Parent Collective 8418 West McNichols Road Detroit, MI 48221

City Detroit: Scale Up

Calling all entrepreuners who are looking to scale up your business. This event is for you.

The Build Institute’s Open City panel will take a deep dive into what it takes and when it is the best time to scale your business.

There will be ample time to network before and after the panel.

Tickets for this networking event are free and you can register here.

When: Monday, February 19 from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Where: Cliff Bell’s 2030 Park Avenue Detroit, MI 48226

–Shameless commerce of a sponsored listing below. Thank them for helping keep the lights on!–

2018 Detroit Policy Conference

The Detroit Policy Conference will focus on creating a culture of civility in Detroit, exploring what it means to be “civil” and the role that communities play in influencing individual behavior.

Programming will also examine role models of civility, Detroiters that have put their differences aside and are working together to put Detroit first to solve issues and create opportunities for all.

Cost: $159.00 for Chamber members; $235.00 for future members

When: March 1, 2018 from 7:30 a.m-4:00 p.m.

Location: Motor City Casino 2901 Grand River Avenue Detroit, MI 48201

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The Man Who Saved Detroit’s Thanksgiving Parade, Art Van Elslander, Dies http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/12/man-saved-detroits-thanksgiving-parade-art-van-elslander-dies/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/12/man-saved-detroits-thanksgiving-parade-art-van-elslander-dies/#respond Mon, 12 Feb 2018 17:01:41 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40853 A local legend as far as business and philanthropy, Art Van Elslander, has died. He was 87.

The founder of Art Van’s in 1959, he grew a store where he was the only employee into a furniture powerhouse based in Warren, Michigan.

Born in 1930 in Detroit, Michigan, Van Elslander was the son of a Belgian immigrant. He grew up in Detroit, selling newspapers and working in his father’s bar as a young boy. At age 14, he discovered his love of fashion when he took a job working at a local haberdashery, Square Menswear. After graduating from Denby High School in 1948 and serving in the U.S. Army, Mr. Van Elslander married, started a family and took a job at Gruenwald Furniture.

He opened his first store in 1959, the sole proprietor of a 4,000 square foot shop on Gratiot Avenue in East Detroit, and headed Art Van Furniture to nearly 4,000 associates and more than 100 Art Van Furniture locations.

The chain was sold to a private equity company in January of 2017 for an undisclosed price.

Van Elslander was also very active in philanthropy, supporting a variety of organizations and received a Max M. Fisher Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 1992. He supported organizations like St. John Providence Health System, Focus:HOPE, Forgotten Harvest and the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, among others.

Stepping Up

When Detroit’s Thanksgiving Parade company was on its back financially, he was the man who wrote a personal $200,000 check in 1990 to keep it alive after The Parade Company had lost their primary sponsor.

The parade had seen a series of issues. Hudson’s stopped sponsoring in 1980. Later in the decade, in 1988, television network CBS pulled the plug on carrying it nationally.

Van Elslander also helped rebuild the organization, according to reports at the time. Fixing issues with creditors, and putting together more fundraisers. It’s now called America’s Thanksgiving Parade and has events like the Hob Nobble Gobble Presented By Ford and the Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot. The Parade Company also offers tours for organizations.

A family man, Art Van Elslander leaves behind 10 children, his wife Mary Ann, and several grand children and great grand children.

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Comerica Bank Branch Opens In Penobscot Building Downtown http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/12/comerica-bank-branch-opens-penobscot-building-downtown/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/12/comerica-bank-branch-opens-penobscot-building-downtown/#respond Mon, 12 Feb 2018 16:31:36 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40850 Comerica Bank has completed the move of their branch to the Penobscot Building in downtown Detroit from their former location at Washington and Fort. The 4,000 square foot location is open today.

Interesting little historical fact — Comerica’s predecessor, the Detroit Savings Bank, moved to the Penobscot in 1906. Now, if you’re confused, thinking the tower was built in the 1920s… you’re right. The Penobscot is actually an amalgamation of two buildings.

The first tower of the complex was built in 1905.

According to Comerica, the Penobscot building also housed the main office of Manufacturers Bank when the bank was formed in 1933. Manufacturers merged with Comerica in 1992.

The location is managed by Josh Smith. He joined Comerica 12 years ago.

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6 Ways To Beat the Winter Blues And Vacation Without Ever Leaving Detroit http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/11/6-ways-beat-winter-blues-vacation-without-ever-leaving-detroit/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/11/6-ways-beat-winter-blues-vacation-without-ever-leaving-detroit/#respond Sun, 11 Feb 2018 20:00:32 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40840 This time of year can be brutal on the psyche of a Michigander. It’s true that the mitten can be a winter playland replete with all manner of sports and activities, but for those of us city dwellers the ski hills and snowmobile trails of the northern part of the state might as well be Alaska. Not everyone here loves cold weather, and for some it can be downright depressing.

A warm vacation is the most desirable remedy for the winter doldrums but certainly not the most convenient or cost efficient. Thankfully for us wannabee snowbirds, our beloved city of Detroit offers some spectacular options to forget you’re suffering through almost daily winter advisory warnings and temperatures cold enough to induce frostbit in 20 minutes.

At these watering holes the only salt you’ll have to worry about ruining your shoes is the kind falling from your margarita.

1. Vicente’s

Vicente’s. Photo via Facebook.

There’s a popular song out now about leaving your heart in Havana, but for the majority of us that have yet to experience a night in Cuba, Vicente’s is about as close to the real things as we may get.  The food is delicious but the reason you’ll stay and return is the drinks and atmosphere. Their Sangria is spectacular and the myriad or flavored mojitos are the best you’ll find outside of Miami. Add to that the live Salsa dancing every Friday and Saturday night and you’ll soon forget you didn’t even need to hop on a boat to get here.

1250 Library Street in Detroit | Website

2. Rincon Tropical

Rincon Tropical. Photo via Facebook.

For starters, “Tropical” is right there in the name! How could you go wrong after that? Fear not, because they more than live up to their name. This exquisitely authentic Puerto Rican eatery has all the local favorites straight from cooks who grew up on the island.

At Rincon Tropical they specialize in authentic Puerto Rican cuisine with original recipes straight from the family cookbook. Roasted pork, stuffed potatoes, and anything with plantains are a few of my favorites but this is a place where exploring the menu is a must. Not to be forgotten there’s a full bar serving any number of drinks including a bevy of fruit and rum cocktails.

6538 Michigan Avenue, Detroit | Facebook Page

3. Mutiny Bar

Mutiny Bar. Photo: Devon O’Reilly

Detroit’s only true Tiki Bar currently in existence, Mutiny is a relative newcomer to the scene having only opened a couple wintery months ago. From the music and décor, to the Lais draped across every seat at the at the bar, this place goes all in on the Tiki experience.

Speaking of the menu, the drinks are perfectly authentic and heavy on the rum with almost every offering arriving in a unique and kitschy vessel ranging from coconut husk to flaming tiki idol. It may be more enjoyable to go to a bar like this in the colder months as you step out from the blizzard conditions and into what might as well be Tahiti.

4654 Vernor, Detroit | Facebook Page

4. Bakersfield

Bakersfield. Photo: Devon O’Reilly

This one may not give you the south of the border vibe, but Texas is still a lot warmer than Detroit this time of year. With the look and feel of a hip Austin taco & tequila bar Bakersfield takes you away with their warm southwestern décor and array of TV’s consistently playing old western movies. Be sure to sample their interesting selection of tacos ample Tequila and Whiskey menu which is also highlighted in the “shot of the day” a $2 offering of one of the spirits.

3100 Woodward Avenue | Website

5. La Feria

What supposedly started with a group of friends reminiscing about their time in Seville, Spain has become Detroit’s preeminent spot for authentic tapas. The cozy space and atmosphere transports patrons to a warm evening in the Spain and is best enjoyed with a date or small group of friends. There is also a full menu of libations including the eponymous Agua De Sevilla featuring cava, torres orange liqueur, whiskey, and pineapple juice.

4130 Cass, Detroit | Website

6. Kresge Court

Kresge Court. Photo: Devon O’Reilly

I almost hate to keep mentioning this place to people but I’m afraid the secret has already long been out. Although not the tropical feel you may be looking for, Kresge Court offers an impressive glass atrium that lets you soak in the sun from the comfort of 68 degrees and drink in hand.

The space is replete intimate seating arrangements and of course the café on site offers a full bar in addition to coffee, tea, and snacks. It would be very easy to lose yourself in thoughts of Barcelona or Prague while being enveloped by the European gothic architecture towering around you. If you really want to take your experience here to the next level, visit on a Friday night where the museum stays open extra late and features an ever changing offering of live musical acts from around the world.

5200 Woodward, Detroit (in the DIA) | Website

Any one of these establishments would do well to cure your thirst for a vacation during the brutal dead of Michigan winter but my unsolicited advice would be to bundle a few into a single days gallivanting.

After all, how often do you get to globe trot to remote destinations like Havana, Polynesia, and Spain without ever leaving Detroit’s 139 square miles of adventure?

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Finding Neverland Asks “When Did You Stop Playing?” http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/10/finding-neverland-asks-stop-playing/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/10/finding-neverland-asks-stop-playing/#respond Sat, 10 Feb 2018 23:28:16 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40779 As we age, it is only natural to grow in maturity – at least for most of us. Sometimes as we mature, our sense of playfulness fades or can be lost in the madness of work and responsibilities.

Finding Neverland, the theatrical musical based on the Academy Award-winning Miramax motion picture by David Magee, and the play The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee, is a timeless story about the power of imagination and begs the question…

When did you stop playing?

J.M. Barrie, played fantastically by Will Ray, is a troubled playwright who has drawn his last straw. Funds for the theater are low, actors are restless and he needs inspiration to make this script a smash hit before this hit smashes his career.

Join Mr. Barrie on this journey as he rediscovers the creativity he once embodied in his younger days through fun-filled scenes at the dinner party or aboard Captain Hook’s ship.

Although the story of Peter Pan is a favorite fairy tale for many children, this play is better suited for adults and pre-teens who can grasp the ideas of motivation and building a chronological story.

Performance times for Finding Neverland appearing February 6-18, 2018 at the Fisher Theatre, located at 3011 West Grand Blvd., in Detroit are:

  • Tuesday through Saturday evening performances at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday evening performances at 6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday matinees at 2:00 p.m.
  • Sunday matinees at 1:00 p.m.
  • Special Open Captioned performance on Sunday, February 11 at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets for Finding Neverland start at $39 (includes facility and parking fees) and are now on sale at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 800-982-2787, and online at www.broadwayindetroit.com or www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are also available for purchase at the Fisher Theatre box office.

A limited number of premium seats will be available through Ticketmaster and at the Fisher Theatre box office. For group sales (12 or more) please call 313-871-1132 or email groups@broadwayindetroit.com. Tickets for the Open Captioned performance may be purchased in person at The Fisher Theatre box office or by phone at 313-872-1000, ext. 0. Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice.

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Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan Is Looking For Ways To Impact Schools http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/09/detroit-mayor-mike-duggan-looking-ways-impact-schools/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/09/detroit-mayor-mike-duggan-looking-ways-impact-schools/#respond Fri, 09 Feb 2018 21:36:07 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40828 After largely steering clear of education during his first term, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is now looking for ways to become more invested in the city schools.

City Hall is already leading an effort called the Detroit Children’s Success Initiative that will put more social workers, therapists, and family support staff into schools. But the mayor is also having conversations with education and civic leaders about ways he can have a more significant impact on the state of education in the city. The low test scores and poor conditions in Detroit schools are often cited as the largest roadblock to the city’s recovery.  

What the mayor’s involvement will look like — and how it will go over with school leaders and parents wary of government involvement after years of state intervention in city schools — is still not clear.

“We’re trying to explore every lever that we can possibly pull to ensure that there are good schools in Detroit, so that’s what we’re looking at,” said Eli Savit, a top advisor to Duggan. “We don’t control the schools. We don’t want to control the schools. But anything we can do to help, we’re willing to do and that can take a number of different forms.”

A recent report from a prominent group of business and civic leaders called the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren anticipated a possible role for the mayor.

One of the coalition’s recommendations was to “Ask the Mayor to work with Coalition leadership to facilitate education ecosystem planning for the City of Detroit and appoint highly credible Detroiters” to work with him.

The coalition said it would ask the mayor to get involved in several delicate — and possibly divisive — issues including working with state education officials to “set school quality standards for all schools.” That could take many forms but some school advocates have raised concerns that the mayor could decide to issue letter grades or otherwise pick winners and losers in a city where most experts expect some low-performing, half-full schools to close in coming years.

The coalition also asked the mayor to take the lead on finding common ground between the city’s combative district and charter school leaders. The coalition report calls for a “charter-district compact that reviews, discusses, and presents plans for better coordination and transparency about school openings and school closings,” and that finds “opportunities for citywide collaboration in areas such as a centralized data system and a campaign to address chronic absences.” The recommendations assert that this compact should not make decisions about openings and closings or “usurp the authority” of district and charter school leaders.

Savit said the mayor is taking those recommendations seriously.

“We heard that recommendation loud and clear,” Savit said. “The coalition was a diverse set of stakeholders that came to us with that recommendation. Of course we’re looking at it and how … to potentially move that forward.”

As mayor, Duggan does not have much power over schools. The city’s main district is now run by an elected school board after years of control by state-appointed emergency managers. The city’s 90 charter schools are run by a host of education management companies and organizations that report to charter school boards and are overseen by 11 different colleges, universities, and school districts.

The result is a sometimes chaotic environment in which schools compete with each other for students and staff and rarely share ideas or resources. It was a situation that some city leaders hoped to address two years ago through the creation of a mayor-led Detroit Education Commission that would oversee issues such as where new schools should locate and how school success should be measured.

Duggan vocally campaigned for the commission when it was being considered in the legislature in 2016, but the idea met with strong opposition from both charter school and district school supporters who raised concerns about how the mayor’s influence might affect schools.

The commission was ultimately defeated in a contentious, tearful, middle-of-the-night vote, without any support from Democrats.

Since then, Duggan has not said much about whether he would again try to get involved with schools. But community leaders say he’s been holding meetings in recent weeks to figure that out.

One effort that is already underway is the Detroit Children’s Success Initiative.

The success initiative is focused on expanding “wraparound services” for schools including social workers, therapists, and support staff that can help families facing homelessness, transportation challenges, health issues, and other problems that make it difficult for children to come to school and succeed.

Schools across the country are increasingly turning to wraparound services after recognizing that earlier efforts like creating new schools and putting pressure on teachers to boost test scores were not sufficient to help children living in poverty.  

Savit declined to comment on the initiative, beyond saying that it’s a work in progress that’s being led by the city health department.

“We’ve been pulling together stakeholders and having discussions,” he said. “But … there’s nothing to announce at this time.

Several people involved in the effort say it began with a three-year, $15 million grant from an organization called the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority.

Rather than give the money to specific schools or districts, the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority approached the city about leading the effort, said Bernard Parker who serves on the Authority board and is also the CEO of the Timbuktu Academy, a charter school on Detroit’s east side.  

The mayor is using the money as a starting point to raise additional funds, working with local charities and foundations, Parker said. “We would like to double the money to $10 million [a year].”

As for how to distribute the money once it’s raised, conversations are still preliminary, Parker said.

“The model that’s been talked about is having a nonprofit organization already involved collaborate with a school,” Parker said. “The nonprofit would get the grant and could collaborate with people at the school to do various supports.”

Some advocates are hoping that if Duggan can bring district and charter school leaders together around supporting families for the Detroit Children’s Success Initiative, that could lead to other kinds of collaborations, such as efforts to recruit and train educators to teach in Detroit.

“The concept was to be a catalyst for change,” said Tom Watkins, who as CEO of the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority last year first asked the authority’s board to find money for the initiative.

“If it’s just used as another funding source,” he said, “then we’ve missed an opportunity.”

Watkins, who was the state schools superintendent from 2001 to 2005, said he’s seen lots of money flow to lots of programs but their impact is often limited.

With this money, he said, “the whole concept was to pull the players together and to figure out ways in which we could really attack in a systematic way the issue of why kids aren’t successful. A lot of that resolves around the extra needs of children coming from poverty and all the social issues that go with that. What are the things outside of the academic environment that prevent children from succeeding?”

Watkins left the Mental Health Authority in August but said he was glad to hear that City Hall is moving the effort forward.

“The mayor is the epicenter to bring people together. Community groups, foundations, businesses, civic associations, whatever,” Watkins said. “Oftentimes, who convenes the meeting will bring players to the table.”

Chalkbeat Detroit

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools. Daily Detroit syndicates their content with their permission.

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Detroit Is One Of America’s Happiest Cities To Work http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/09/detroit-one-americas-happiest-cities-work/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/09/detroit-one-americas-happiest-cities-work/#respond Fri, 09 Feb 2018 19:19:24 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40819 When it comes to going to work, Detroit is the second happiest city in the nation.

That’s according to a report by Careerbliss that outlined America’s ten happiest cities when it comes to the workplace.

To find the happiest cities, Careerbliss says they analyzed thousands of independent company reviews by actual employees, analyzing the key factors that impact workplace happiness.

Number 10 was Cleveland, OH; then going up we have Rockville, MD; Santa Clara, CA; San Jose, CA; Redmond, WA; Stamford, CT; Richardson, TX; and at number three, Boulder, Colorado.

What city takes the title for Happiest City in the United States? Mountain View, California. The home of Google.

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