Hard Work in Detroit

The West Grand Boulevard Collaborative is a non-profit community organization made up of 100% volunteer efforts. The WGBC fights for the sustainability and economic vitality of the local community in and around the West Grand Boulevard mainstay between the M-10 John C. Lodge Freeway and I-96 Jeffries Freeway.

Please visit www.wgbcdetroit.org to see the great work this fine group of people is doing for the city of Detroit.

Click here to donate.

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“Best Funeral Ever”?!?!

After watching “Best Funeral Ever” on TLC Network, I must adamantly state that this was one of the most outrageous misrepresentations of the funeral industry in quite some time.

In the African American community a funeral service is often referred to as a “Home Going” service. A Funeral or Home Going service is meant to pay tribute and give honor to the person who has passed. It seemed the purpose of this television show was to display the many different types of tributes that take place within our community, but failed miserably, and actually turned the services into a spectacle that poorly represented our industry.

Many of our colleagues throughout the funeral industry have expressed their disgust and anger over the disrespect this television program has shown to our profession. On January 7, 2013, the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association disseminated a Press Release to address this issue, and within it states: “We would like to express to the general public and media that this show does not in any way reflect how most funeral service professionals conduct funeral services.” (NFDMA Press Release)

It is our hope that the viewing public exposed to this program will not generalize all funeral professionals into the sub standard display of service that this show has represented.

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DPS to Spend $49.4 million in Technnology Upgrades

The Detroit Public Schools announced today that it will spend $49.4 million to upgrade technology throughout the district.

The investment, funded through federal stimulus dollars, will provide 40,000 netbook laptop computers and more than 5,000 desktop computers, the DPS’ emergency financial manager, Robert Bobb, said in a statement.

Read More

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“Rightsizing” Detroit

The city of Detroit’s mayor, Dave Bing, has made a strong argument for what the best course of action should be for the viability of the city.  In the corporate world, his particular recommendation would be called Rightsizing. Rightsizing is the undergoing of a reduction to reach optimal size. So when speaking in terms of rightsizing an entire city (such as Detroit), this would include eliminating entire neighborhoods and reverting them into industrial and urban farming areas, along with parks and low maintenance grow zones. (Read More)

Is this the right course of action for Detroit, or should other avenues be explored?

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Detroit’s Midtown Looks to Have a Promising Future

In recent history, Downtown Detroit has been looked at as Detroit’s crown jewel (as far as location goes); but is the Midtown area slowly becoming the new “Heart of the City”?

On Wednesday, October 29th, CEO Rip Rapson stated the Kresge Foundation will be giving the city of Detroit $15 million to go towards the continued efforts of revitalizing the Midtown area. (Read More)

In addition to this, New York based Living Cities, has planned to invest $22 million in projects to “redensify Detroit’s Woodward Corridor”.

With so many institutions and organizations dedicated to building up and enhancing this area, and the pending construction of the Woodward light rail (not to mention the rumored building of a new sports arena), investing (and living) in Midtown Detroit sure doesn’t sound like too bad of an idea.

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Can I Use Your Phone? Think Twice.

For all those who use touchscreen phones or other devices, you know how grimy your screen can get at times; but do you really know what lurks behind the grime?

According to a study by a Stanford University doctoral student, Timothy Julian, who co-authored a study on the spread of viruses, there is a somewhat high risk of the transmission of viruses and other pathogens from a glass surface. “If you put virus on a surface, like an iPhone, about 30 percent of it will get on your fingertips,” Julian said.

British researchers have even found that mobile phones can have up to 18 times more bacteria on them than the handle of a toilet in the average men’s bathroom.

Source: Sacbee

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Your Take On President Obama

Over the past few months, many organizations have made it one of their top priorities to make President Obama out to be a man who has failed his country. Many leaders in the black community have become increasingly critical of the President’s agenda as well.

Professor Cornel West stated he would like to see Obama more like Martin Luther King, Jr. saying “I know my dear brother, President Obama, has a bust of Martin King right there in the Oval Office, but the question is are is he going to be true to who that Martin Luther King, Jr., actually is? King was concerned about what? The poor. He was concerned about working people. He was concerned about quality jobs. He was concerned about quality housing.” (NPR 8/2/10)

Two years ago, in the midst of the “Yes We Can Campaign”, there were many promises made by President Obama that effectively united voters and brought a record setting number of citizens, from all demographics, out to vote. The question is: Is our president living up to those promises or was that just typical political baiting?

This is arguably one of the most difficult times for our nation, and in turn one of the most difficult times to be commander in chief. But despite this fact, we still must stay critical (and supportive) of our leaders, by availing ourselves of the democratic process.

Simply meaning: VOTE!

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iPad: Do you Have One?

The iPad’s destructive reach seems to be extending further and faster. Apple’s tablet is taking off at a breakneck rate. Analysts now predict up to 40 million will be sold in 2011. With personal incomes and spending stagnant, it’s looking like a zero-sum game in consumer electronics. Forget PCs and netbooks. The iPad will eat into camera and GPS device sales too.

How well the touch-screen gadget is really doing will become clear later this month when Apple reports its next set of quarterly results. But there are growing signs the company is selling way more of them than anyone outside Apple, or maybe even among Steve Jobs’ inner circle, had been anticipating. It’s clear the mini notebook computer market is being throttled. Netbook unit sales had been growing at more than 30 percent annually before the iPad was unleashed. Sales are now shrinking, according to market research firm NPD Group.

But the volume of iPad sales means there will be more victims. Early adopters of new consumer electronics typically have plenty of disposable income or spend a lot on gizmos, or both. The iPad is showing signs of extending beyond this base. It looks on track to become the fastest adopted consumer good ever. And that’s really saying something considering the competition includes the ubiquitous DVD player, and Apple’s own hyper-popular iPod and iPhone.

With so many iPads flying off the shelves, however, it’s more than likely they’re not just being purchased by the well-heeled and the geeks. Instead, a wider array of consumers is probably spending its money on iPads instead of other gadgets. Sanford Bernstein analysts have noticed, for example, that digital camera sales started falling sharply around the time of the iPad introduction. Those of LCD televisions actually went negative.

Article from Reuters.com

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Detroit Pistons Find New Owner

The owner of the Detroit Pistons and Auburn Hills-based Palace Sports & Entertainment Inc. has chosen to open negotiations to sell the basketball team and venue management company to Detroit pizza and sports industrialist Mike Ilitch, Crain’s has learned.

It’s believed that a deal will be worked out in the next 30 days.

Any sale of the Pistons will require a vote by the National Basketball Association‘s other team owners.

It’s unknown how much Ilitch might pay for the team and PS&E, and a final purchase price is likely still not set. Crain’s reported in September that bids were submitted around Labor Day.

Those involved have declined to comment.

Team majority owner Karen Davidson inherited the NBA franchise and Palace Sports when her husband, Guardian Industries Inc. Chairman Bill Davidson, died in March 2009.

She said in January she wants to sell the team, and over the summer said she thought a deal could be done by the start of the NBA season, which begins at the end of this month.

Davidson retained New York-based Citi Private Bank Sports Advisory to act as financial advisers on a sale.

Ilitch announced in August that he was interested in adding the Pistons to his holdings, which include the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers and the Little Caesars Enterprises Inc. pizza chain, which he co-founded with wife Marian in 1959. Buying the Pistons would means Ilitch would become the only owner of three franchises in the four U.S. major leagues.

The Ilitch organization is interested in building a new downtown arena for the Red Wings, to replace aging city-owned Joe Louis Arena, and owning the Pistons and having them as a co-tenant is widely seen as beneficial to financing a new facility.

The other major candidate to buy the team was California private equity billionaire Tom Gores, a Michigan State University graduate with deeps ties to the state and even deeper pockets. He’s founder of Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity LLC, one of the largest private equity firms in the country.

The sale will be only the second time in team history that it has changed hands.

Bill Davidson bought the Pistons for $8 million in 1974 from team founder Fred Zollner, who had moved the franchise to Detroit from Fort Wayne, Ind., where it was founded in 1957.

The Pistons’ minority owners, who account for a collective 24 percent stake in the team, have agreed to sell their shares when Davidson reaches a deal.

Forbes.com has valued the team at an estimated $475 million.

Palace Sports is the umbrella organization overseeing the team and the Palace of Auburn Hills, DTE Energy Music Theatre and Meadow Brook Music Festival, which PS&E operates on behalf of Oakland University.

The venues are believed to generate about $70 million annually in revenue. Forbes estimates the Pistons last season generated $171 million in revenue and $47 million in operating income.

The PS&E venues collectively host 300 events for 3.5 million people annually and have long been entertainment dollar rivals to the Ilitch-owned or managed Cobo Arena, Joe Louis Arena, and Fox, Masonic and City theaters.

The Ilitches bought the Red Wings in June 1982 for $8 million from Bruce Norris, whose family had owned the team since 1955.

Mike Ilitch paid $82 million to buy the Detroit Tigers from Domino’s Pizza Inc. founder Tom Monaghan in August 1992.

The Ilitch’s Olympia Entertainment Inc. venue management organization remains in talks with the city, via the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., on a new lease for city-owned Joe Louis Arena.

Marian Ilitch separately owns MotorCity Casino.

by: Bill Shea
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New Attraction Coming to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment

October 1, 2010 – January 2, 2011

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Harlem’s Apollo Theater the Smithsonian presents Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment which begins its national tour at the Charles H. Wright Museum. Drawing on wide-ranging materials, including historic photographs, film, recordings, and artist interviews, this multimedia exhibition includes one-of-a-kind and rarely displayed artifacts such as James Brown’s cape and jumpsuit, Michael Jackson’s fedora, Ella Fitzgerald’s dress, Duke Ellington’s score for “Black and Tan Fantasy,” Miles Davis’ flugelhorn, LL Cool J’s jacket and hat, and many, many more.  Read More

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