Hey there,

The weekend and winter seems to have shown up at the same time and in big fashion. The big tree lights up tonight in Campus Martius, a sure sign the holidays are here. This weekend will be spent below freezing, so as weatherman Chuck Gaidica used to say on TV, I’d say there’s a “Cuddle Alert.”

Let’s get into the stories to share around town. As always, my thoughts are in italics.

black car on road during daytime
Photo by Hans Isaacson on Unsplash

📰 What to know

» On the heels of a major electoral win, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in an interview that there needs to be an entirely new approach to how we fund fixing Michigan roads. [Freep]

I didn’t see much buzz about this, but I put it here because think this is going to be an interesting debate over the next couple of years. Electric vehicles don’t use gas, and we fund road repairs largely through gas taxes. Also — we still fund our roads at the lowest level per capita of Great Lakes states. So it’s no surprise when you go over the Ohio border it’s smooth pavement. They’re spending $60 more a person per year than we do. Wisconsin and Illinois spend hundreds of dollars more per person on roads. It hurts, but it’s also math.

» The mayor of Westland, Bill Wild, has unexpectedly said he will resign at the end of this year after 16 years in office. He’s taking a job in the private sector, becoming the president and CEO of the Midwest Independent Retailers Association. [Freep]

The timing of this is odd to me as he just won a landslide re-election victory earlier this month with 72% of the vote. Westland is not a small suburb, with more than 85,000 people in western Wayne County. I believe it’s the only suburb named after a mall when it was incorporated in 1966. It was part of Nankin Township, and that name is a story unto itself, named after a Chinese city.

» An unprocessed backlog of more than 11,000 rape kits have finally been tested. In a press release, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office says the kits date from 2009 all the way back to 1984. [Wayne County]

Since the processing started after being found in a Detroit Police Department warehouse in ‘09, more than 4,800 cases have been closed with the identification of 841 suspected serial rapists and 239 convictions.

» The city of Grosse Pointe may be getting a new, 81-unit apartment building. It’d be near an area that’s called “The Village” on a plot of land that’s been vacant for about a decade and a half — and in a prime location, just a couple blocks away from Grosse Pointe Beaumont hospital. [Grosse Pointe News]

Longtime readers and listeners will know that a number of longtime suburbs like Royal Oak, Sterling Heights and Dearborn are also adding some density to help keep property values up and population numbers strong to reinforce their tax base. Plus, younger talent is looking for more walkability than you’ll find in most of Metro Detroit right now.

» There’s a new four-story, nearly 60 unit apartment building proposed for the corner of Second and Brainard in Midtown Detroit. It’d be built on a site that now has a series of solar panels. [Freep]

Those solar panels have a story. They apparently helped power an illegal marijuana grow operation that the Detroit Fire Department said caused a fire in the apartment building next door back in 2020. That building has been repaired and is taking tenants again.

» Detroit’s public school district has cooled off on selling the long vacant Cooley High School to Life Remodeled. [Bridge Detroit]

» Who owns Detroit’s rental housing? There are more than 137,000 rental units in the city, and until recently, we didn’t know much about who owns them. A recent report from Detroit Future City outlines the findings, and we talk about it with them.

🎁 Noel Night is back

I had the pleasure of using Christmassy music on the episode of the podcast this week because Noel Night is back after a two year hiatus.

The map is now out of attractions on Saturday, December 3.

You can listen to the preview here:

🍣 News with plates

» Baobob Fare was named one of America’s best new restaurants by Esquire magazine. It’s owned by a couple who came to the U.S. as refugees from Burundi. If you haven’t had Eastern African food before, it’s time to give it a try. [Esquire]

Here’s a great video with their story: [New American Economy]

We discuss it on our podcast, including my experience trying two dishes and their house-bottled passion fruit juice.

» Metro Detroit loves our restaurants in gas stations. The latest addition to the obsession is “Chubby Panda,” in Southwest Detroit off of Clark Park. They’re serving other kinds of street food, too. I haven’t checked it out for myself yet, but the culinary mind behind it is from Townhouse. Yes, you can get a corned beef egg roll. [Eater Detroit] [Chubby Panda Instagram]

» Comedian Mike Epps is opening a new comedy club in the old Punchbowl Social space called “One Mike Detroit.” That corner of more than 23,000 square feet will get the club, a music venue, a restaurant called Savor 42 and a lounge that features his booze line, Eppic Spirits. [WXYZ] [Freep] [Crain’s]

Over on their website, they share a countdown to when it’ll be open. It reads 140 days as of this writing. [Website]

Epps brings the star power from Def Comedy Jam and countless other projects. I’ll add in “Detroit is the smallest town you’ll ever meet” files, his local partner is Horace Sheffield III, a well-known pastor and dad to city council president Mary Sheffield.

Photo via Copper Hop

» Copper Hop Brewing in St. Clair Shores is expanding. They’re renovating the space next to their location on a Greater Mack as a party room and additional seating during winter months. [Facebook] [Website]

🌆 Where to go

» Star Trek’s William Shatner is coming to the Redford Theatre this March. The historic neighborhood movie theater will be showing Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. After, Shatner will take the stage to share behind-the-scenes stories from his storied career, including answering audience questions. [Redford Theatre]

Beam me up for this one.

» Michigan’s longest-running independent craft fair, the Detroit Urban Craft Fair, is back running Dec. 2 thru 4 at the Masonic Temple. There will be more than 100 makers to check out and buy from. [Website]

» Modern + vintage shop BORO is open for their last weekend in Eastern Market. They’re moving to 2857 E. Grand Boulevard, a growing strip with additions like Vault of Midnight, The Gathering Coffee Co., Freya, and Oak and Reel. [Instagram]

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Until next note — Remember you are somebody. We’ll talk soon.


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