Hey all - Jer here. Busy week around Metro Detroit, so I thought I’d catch you up on a bunch of stories around town.

💬 As always, my thoughts are in italics.

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📰 What to know…

red and white bus on road during night time
Photo by Casey Connell on Unsplash

» Paratransit service in Detroit will continue with short term contracts. Over the last month-plus a public rift between the mayor’s office and council has opened up. At issue has been a $49 million, five-year contract for transportation for disabled Detroiters. [Bridge Detroit]

In the waning hours of the final session, council rejected by a 4-4 vote a contract with French provider Transdev.

Disability advocates weren’t happy with the original contract. [Michigan Radio]

In between, the Federal Transit Administration stepped in and reminded the city that they have a legal responsibility to provide these services. The city provides 1,000 rides a day; without the contract approved, the Detroit Department of Transportation said that would go down to 300. [Mass Transit]

That’s led to a flurry of verbal fire, including Detroit Mayor Duggan calling council “dysfunctional.” [Axios] Then council president Mary Sheffield (who voted for the contract) said Duggan’s comments were “shameful and highly inappropriate rhetoric.” [Metro Times]

This leads us to the latest. Mayor Duggan’s office announced Thursday that four, six-month emergency contracts were awarded to fill the gap to local providers. They’ll cost more, says a statement, going from $4.7 million for the period to $5.8 million. The city will restart the bid process in January.

» The QLINE is getting $85 million in subsidies over the next 17 years from hotel and liquor taxes. It runs through the state of Michigan, and will help keep the streetcar free to ride. The measure had wide bipartisan support, and gives the streetcar more financial certainty. [Detroit News]

When I got to the Canfield station and said it was going to be 44 minutes to the next ride during Noel Night, we ended up driving to our next destination. I had a moment of “well, duh” clarity looking down Woodward. There’s an original design sin to the QLINE in that it runs curbside and along the parking lane. It just takes one person who doesn’t know how to park or doesn’t think about it to hold the whole thing up. If we want to truly fix the QLINE, the tracks need to be put where they always should have been - down the center, or in a dedicated transit lane line like outside of Little Caesars Arena that buses could also use.

» Safety concerns are raised about the DMC and Henry Ford parking structures in Detroit. A home inspector raised concerns to management and on social media when he noticed cracked columns during a trip to see a doctor. The city is looking into it.

» An E-bike maker is moving their production from China to Detroit. Although it’ll cost more in labor, there are other benefits…

…lower shipping costs, better quality control, the ability to adjust parts for errors, significantly shorter lead times for production, and the logistical relief for staff who no longer have to make calls to Chinese factories in the middle of the night.

It’s estimated that 5,000 E-bikes will be produced here next year for Vela.

» A plan to help Detroit residents reduce the number of basement backups is running a year behind. A large number of the homes involved also need massive sewer repairs, over and above what the program offers.

» Karl’s confirms their closure on social media. First reported here, Karl’s Siren Hotel downtown Detroit location closed last week. The Instagram post doesn’t get into the reason why other than “We did not expect this to happen.”

» Anew program will match $500 for Detroiters who save for a home or vehicle. The Rocket Community fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation are partnering to serve people in Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Atlanta over the next three years. The program aims to help Black Americans build generational wealth. Clients will also have access to financial coaching.

» Nice Price is opening a new store in Southwest Detroit. The local retail chain’s fifth location will have private parking for customers.

» Supergeil will host a pop-up market the next two Sundays — December 11 & 18 from 3 - 7pm. Local artists will be selling crafts and collections, and there will be cocktails and food.

» The Wayne County suburb of Livonia voted down a non-discrimination ordinance 5-2. Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan first proposed it. The measure would have added age, sex, appearance and sexual orientation protections to those for race, religion and disability. Her comment, in part, after the defeat:

This proposal would have brought state and federal protections to the local level, providing residents a community-based option for enforcement of and compliance with these laws.

The conversation about this policy has only amplified the need for the protections of a non-discrimination ordinance. There are real, albeit rare, instances of discrimination in our community, and we need to do more to ensure Livonia continues to grow as a welcoming community.

Livonia and many metro Detroit suburbs have a long and troubling history around discrimination as a “sundown town,” meaning that if you were deemed undesirable (not white) you could work there but needed to leave by sundown. If you want to truly understand more about our region’s history and the “why” of things beyond old photos of long-gone buildings, one of the first books you need to read is “Origins of the Urban Crisis” by Thomas Sugrue.

» Ferndale’s library workers are in the process of unionizing. They’ve joined the Newspaper Guild of Detroit, and an “overwhelming" majority of workers have signed cards. They’re asking for voluntary recognition from library officials.

» The Winter Blast is returning to downtown Royal Oak Feb. 3-5. The event saw increased attendance last year, drawing 80,000 people. Press materials say it’ll have a snow slide, zip line, ice garden, ice carving demonstrations, food trucks and more. The event ran for years in Detroit’s Campus Martius and was created to showcase downtown when the Super Bowl came to town.

» A family returned home from their trip to their car parked in the Big Blue Garage at Detroit Metro Airport. Seems normal, right? Problem is, they found it on blocks and their rims were stolen.

» The Taco Stand Taqueria is expanding to Flat Rock. One of the tastier options when I’m south and west but outside the city, this is their fifth location.

Don’t sleep on the Taco Stand Burrito. That’s the thing to order, IMHO.

» Meijer is opening new stores in Orion and Macomb Townships on January 26, 2023.

» Detroit Cookie Company is opening a new location in St. Clair Shores. The opening date for the spot at Harper north of 10 Mile is still to come.

One thing we’ve gotten a lot of feedback on is the idea of a meetup that wasn’t booze- or beer-focused. So, we’ll do one in January. But I need to know what works best for people as to when.

🎧 On the podcast…

»  A local brewery is crowdfunding $1 million to expand. Owner of Eastern Market Brewing Company Dayne Bartscht joined us for a podcast episode. The largest self-distributor of beer in Michigan discusses with me how the business has grown to now include Lincoln Tap, Eastern Market Brewing, Ferndale Project, and Dooped Donuts. Curious how Dayne tripled employees despite small business challenges and a global pandemic? Have a listen.

» Detroit-based Concetti owners Rachel Nelson and Taylor Morgan discussed on the podcast renovating a historic set of townhouses, The Murray. Concetti offers interior design services for commercial and residential properties, and Rachel and Taylor’s team have re-done local spaces Good Cakes and Bakes, The Film Lab, and Coriander Kitchen to name a few.

I host the Daily Detroit podcast each and every weekday. You can find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to shows.

And we are done for today. Thanks to Luciano Marcon for helping me put this together. Randy Walker for keeping the tech side going. Shianne Nocerini for editing the podcast, Devon O’Reilly for hosting the Friday show and Fletcher Sharpe for his sports contributions on the podcast.

Have a wonderful weekend, thank you for reading and we’ll see you around Detroit.


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