Blog Posts by Detroit News

  • Home opener is simply bigger in Detroit


    Craig Skeltis paints the blue outline of the Olde English D logo behind home plate at Comerica Park. (John T. Greilick/The Detroit News)

    Lynn Henning, Detroit News staff writer

    To no one's surprise who knew him during his double-tour years as the Tigers bullpen closer, Todd Jones doesn't remember a particular Opening Day game or save.

    Rather, when he thinks back upon those days at Tiger Stadium and Comerica Park, he remembers visuals, atmosphere, and how a game could act as a touchstone for a town and its team.

    "Opening Day was one of the few ways to mark your time in the big leagues," Jones said from his home in Georgia, where he lives three years after retiring from baseball. "It was a tip of the cap to things brand-new.

    "In Detroit, Opening Day's bigger. It's a sign to the fans that it won't be cold and gray anymore -- that the Tigers will be there every night to give you something to watch and

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  • Empty homes dot Oakland County’s upscale suburbs

    Laura Berman, Detroit News staff writer

    Numbers don't lie: They tell unpleasant stories, including new census numbers pinpointing high vacancy rates in some of Oakland County's most elite suburbs.

    The half-secret behind many of the well-maintained facades and manicured lawns of some of the area's most lavish properties is that nobody's home.

    Birmingham (9.4 percent) and Bloomfield Hills (10.2 percent) showed vacancy rates significantly higher than 10 years ago. Those rates are similar to Detroit's vacancy rate a decade ago.

    Tiny Lake Angelus, with 132 households in north Oakland County, is historically a pocket of the county's wealth. Always private, the census takers also found that 13.2 percent of the residences were unoccupied. Vacancies in Farmington Hills were 6.8 percent, up from 3.3 percent in 2000.

    "One of the striking things is that the foreclosure crisis has hit parts of Oakland County that we would have thought are untouchable," said Andy Meisner, Oakland

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  • St. Clair Shores resident Gary Istok got a bill for $327.35 after Eastpointe Police investigated a fender-bender in December. (Brandy Baker / The Detroit News)

    George Hunter, Detroit News staff writer

    Cash-strapped Metro area police and fire departments are bolstering their budgets by charging fees to investigate traffic accidents.

    The practice of collecting "emergency response fees" to recoup the cost of traffic investigations is called a "crash tax" by critics, who argue that income and property taxes already cover the daily duties of police officers and firefighters.

    St. Clair Shores resident Gary Istok was stunned to receive a bill from a collection agency for $327.35 his insurance company refused to pay to Eastpointe Police for investigating a fender-bender he reported in December.

    "How can they charge that much money for a cop to walk out to the parking lot and look at my car?" Istok asked.

    Supporters say communities often charge fees for government services and insist

    Read More »from Metro Detroit communities’ emergency response billings raise ire
  • Mike Wilkinson, Detroit News staff writer

    Linda Dresner is a purveyor of style well-known in the fashion centers of Europe and Manhattan. Her eponymous Birmingham boutique commands attention — and sometimes a small fortune — for its clothes from world-famous designers.

    But Dresner, who can count socialite Gloria Vanderbilt, actress Scarlett Johansson and the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis among her customers, is facing questions about her taste. Not about her store's wares, but on the multimillion-dollar concrete cube home she wants to build in Birmingham.

    It is stark.

    Minimalist.

    Modern.

    "Silent," the home's architect, Steven Sivak, calls it.

    And controversial.

    "It's so extreme that we could not approve it," said James Mirro, a neighbor who has tried, unsuccessfully, to block the 7,200-square-foot home with poured concrete walls, calling it incompatible with a neighborhood filled with more traditional homes made of wood, brick and stone.

    In a not-so-neighborly battle

    Read More »from Birmingham neighbors up in arms over plans for ‘extreme’ home
  • Charlie Sheen: Snoop Dogg part of Saturday’s Detroit show

    Susan Whitall, Detroit News staff writer

    On the eve of his Saturday Fox Theatre show, Charlie Sheen called in to Mojo in the Morning (95.5 FM) this morning, confirming to hosts Mojo and Spike that he is bringing rapper Snoop Dogg with him.

    He's also bringing his two live-in girlfriends (dubbed "the goddesses") and promises that he will be "delivering gold to your fine town."

    The interview was taped Thursday night but held for airing this morning. Sheen was supposed to pick one 95.5 listener to "win" the chance to sing the national anthem before his show, but instead chose two women to sing it together.

    When Sheen picked up the phone and Mojo identified the show, the actor replied, "Mojo in the Morning? Winning!"

    Asked what he was planning to do Saturday night, Sheen said, "They didn't have an idea when they sold the venue out, did they?"

    There are still tickets available in all price ranges.

    The actor said he would love it if Kid Rock came and jumped onstage. "He's as

    Read More »from Charlie Sheen: Snoop Dogg part of Saturday’s Detroit show
  • Ex-Piston Dennis Rodman a one-of-a-kind force

    Terry Foster, Detroit News staff writer

    All eyes were on Dennis Rodman, the many-tattooed former basketball player turned disc jockey and pitchman.

    He made his way through the crowd at a business expo in New York City, shaking hands and hugging fans.

    A few feet away, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, a member of the cast on MTV's "Jersey Shore" who also was making an appearance at the event, wondered what all the excitement was about.

    "He is the guy that used to wear wild hair when he played in the NBA," someone told her.

    She shrugged.

    "He was on 'Celebrity Apprentice,'" someone else said.

    "Oh, now I know who he is," she said.

    One of the greatest rebounders and defenders in NBA history has turned into a sideshow for a new generation because of his wild antics, wild parties, relationships with Madonna and others, meltdowns on reality television and takedowns on the professional wrestling circuit.

    On April 1 at The Palace, however, people who know Rodman expect the emotional, thoughtful

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  • Chefs pour it on for Detroit Restaurant Week

    Melody Baetens, Detroit News staff writer

    Ignite your appetite, because for the fourth time in two years, the Motor City will shine as a major dining destination with Detroit Restaurant Week.

    The 10-day promotion will start April 1 and will run through April 10. Eighteen Detroit restaurants will offer fixed-price menus showcasing each establishment's signature dishes and spring-influenced fare. The three-course menus include an appetizer, entrée and dessert for $28, not including tax, tip or beverages.

    Upscale businesses like 24Grille, Coach Insignia, Opus One, The Whitney and MGM Grand's Saltwater are mainstays of this biannual promotion.

    Angelina Italian Bistro is a new addition to Detroit Restaurant Week. Located on Broadway near Woodward Avenue, this 100-seat restaurant will offer plenty of variety with eight first courses to choose from, six entrees and three desserts.

    Partner and general manager Tom Agosta recommends one of Angelina's most popular dishes, the roasted

    Read More »from Chefs pour it on for Detroit Restaurant Week
  • Brady Hoke to make $2 mil. first year coaching Michigan

    Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News staff writer

    It finally is official.

    After both major parties involved — Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon and new football coach Brady Hoke — insisted finalizing Hoke's contract was not a priority, they have reached an agreement.

    Hoke on Monday signed a six-year contract worth $2 million the first year, according to Brandon. The base salary is $300,000, with $1.7 million in additional compensation. The contract goes through December 2016.

    "It's really been a very positive, pleasant process from the perspective both parties were anxious to enter the agreement," Brandon said in a telephone interview. "We worked through it at a natural pace."

    Hoke was not available for comment.

    The 52-year-old Hoke was hired on Jan. 11 to become the Wolverines' 19th coach in the 131-year history of the program. He

    Read More »from Brady Hoke to make $2 mil. first year coaching Michigan
  • Metro Detroit no longer most segregated

    Mike Wilkinson, Detroit News staff writer

    The steady movement of African-Americans from Detroit to area suburbs helped knock the region off the top of the list of most-segregated regions in the country.

    Metro Detroit is now No. 4, behind Milwaukee, New York and Chicago, respectively, based on a statistical analysis of census data released last week.

    And although the region remains highly segregated, it experienced the biggest drop in a nationally recognized segregation index, with nearly twice as many people now living in areas that are considered integrated, compared with just 10 years ago. The changes are a byproduct of migration patterns that have dramatically altered communities throughout Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

    "It deserves a lot of recognition," said John Logan, a sociologist at Brown University who compiled the statistics for the US2010 research project. "A lot had to change on the ground for the number to change so much."

    Segregation is measured by

    Read More »from Metro Detroit no longer most segregated
  • Tom Greenwood, Detroit News staff writer

    Starting today the Michigan Secretary of State will begin issuing newly designed driver's licenses and state identification cards.

    According to Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, the new issues will cost the same as the old cards but will carry increased security features.

    "It will look very different from the current driver's license and I.D. card," Johnson said. "The front will feature the Great Seal of Michigan that can only be seen under a black light.

    "The front will have a photo of the driver and will also have a three color image of the Mackinac Bridge that appears and disappears depending on how you hold the card."

    According to the Secretary of State office, the driver's photo and date of birth will be on the back of the card and will be viewable under a black light.

    "The laser perforated letters 'MICH' will also be on the card and can be seen by holding it up to a light source," Johnson said.

    License holders 21 and older

    Read More »from Secretary of State redesigns Michigan driver’s licenses, identification cards

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