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Posted in Family Stories

Detroit Suffers Huge Loss After Windstorm on Wednesday

On Wednesday March 8th more than 1 million residents across the state of Michigan was affected by a high windstorm, and as of Saturday March 11th there were still more than 300,000 metro-Detroiters without power. More than 4,000 power lines were pulled down or affected by fallen trees causing the huge outage to all of the utility customers. This being called the largest weather event by DTE Energy, crews from around the country drove in to assist with restoring power. Many people from Ohio, Kentucky, St. Louis and other cities have given up their time and safety to assist DTE and Consumers Energy to get power restored. The Detroit Free Press reported that people are advised to stay 20 feet away from any down lines or anything they come in contact with.

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LinkedIn social media post

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Trees that have fallen down on to power lines causing the electrical pole to be uprooted

Many residents have been without power causing them to lose money on food and finding somewhere warm and safe to stay. Many students have missed school since Wednesday afternoon, and adults missing work due to there being no power. “I was not affected by the storm, and none of my kids schools closed. It was after the storm when I started to have problems and I knew that we would have a hard time finding a room since people were talking about it the day before. My family and I ended up having to go to Ohio to find an open vacancy,” said Atiba Mumphield.

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DTE Energy Tweet

Residents from all over are posting on social media about their experience during this outing. Andre Foster shared an article on Facebook from clickondetroit.com about the power being restored late that evening, and he didn’t seem too happy about it. On Thursday Richard Pounchy posted on Google Plus about how 665,000 utility customers were still affected one day later from the 1 million number and that is just counting customer, not everyone affected. CBS Detroit (@CBSDetroit) also tweeted about the many warming centers open around the metro area for the people who are also without heat due to the issue. Two popular pastors Rev. Wendell Anthony and Rev. Horace Sheffield drove around the metro area on Saturday March 11th making sure that people, especially the elderly were safe in their home with no power or heat.

 

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DTE has plans on having 90 percent of all it’s customers restored by Sunday evening. They are asking that for any assistance place download and visit the DTE app or call at 800-477-4747. Please report all suspicious down lines and do not go anywhere near them.

Posted in Family Stories

Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries: Striving in Community Service

Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries was founded in 1909 by David C. Stucky inside of a room at a poultry store. In 1918 the ministry moved into a larger headquarters and started helping and feeding more and more families. By 1928 the organization had grown even more, moved to Jefferson and began feeding as many as 400 families a week. Every year the ministry grows from the number of volunteers to the number of people that receive assistance. Last year DRMM was able to change the lives of 13, 125 people through many different forms off assistance such as substance abuse and mental health treatment for men and women, to camping and afterschool programs for children.

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Chart made based of information from Facebook post on official Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries page

“It is not easy asking for assistance, everybody want to be able to take care of themselves and their kids on their own with no help. One day after prayer I just called 211 for assistance and the lady on the other end of the line gave me a number to the Detroit Rescue Mission, and at first I didn’t think it would work so I didn’t call. A few days later I called and within a week I had assistance and my kids received back-packs and dental screenings,” said Qwendolyn Hughes.

Easter is approaching, which is a major holiday for DRMM, and this year they are preparing to feed 2,200 people. They will be providing a good, hot meal to men, women and entire families in need, and is asking for the community to contribute by donating as little as $1.95. This past winter was not as bad as ones prior too, but DRMM doors were still open for the homeless with warming centers and assistance with food. As the above chart shows, DRMM assisted over 13,000 people last year.

“Community service and servicing the community is two different things and I can honestly say that the rescue mission is truly about servicing the city of Detroit and its’ residents. I am always recommending Detroit Rescue Mission anytime that I can,” said Hughes.

Every year Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries grow, and this year they plan to assist more people in Detroit with the help of the community. Residents in the city of Detroit and the surrounding area’s question how far their donations will really go, with all of the stories and scandals from politicians; but the numbers don’t lie and DRMM isn’t afraid to share them. Even if you can’t donate monetarily, DRMM is asking that people download and print compassion cards to give to the homeless to point them in that right direction. “People helping people is what it’s all about, this is a team effort, it takes everyone and all donations help,” said Roxanne Dukes employee with DRMM.

Posted in Family Stories

Blight: A Never Ending Story for the City of Detroit

A Detroit Family is forced to look for residence outside of the city, due to the horrible blight issue in the community. After the riot in 1967, Detroit has struggled to come back and with the recession in the late 90s early 2000s, many families were forced into foreclosure and had to leave their homes. Many homes were taken over by the bank, some people squatted in until they couldn’t anymore, and many were broken into and thieves took everything they could scrap.

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Dion Tate has been living in the same community his entire life. Watching people come and go and many houses become abandoned, Dion refers to his community as a “ghost-town”. “When I was little kid it was safe enough for us to walk around and we knew the people, our neighbors. It seemed like our parents trusted us out because they knew that we were always being watched by other adults that were out in the neighborhood. I would never send my child out in this neighborhood for nothing,” said Tate.

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Blight is nothing new in Detroit, and since mayor Duggen took office in 2014, there have been area’s where homes have been demolished. “Downtown looks nice, Dan Gilbert and the Illitch family is making it look great down there. The lofts are an arm and a leg though. I would love to stay in the city but other than downtown most of the area’s look the same or are already occupied. We have been looking outside of Detroit now and as bad as I would hate to move out that way, I have to do what is best for my family,” said Tate.

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Until the community come together and come up with a plan to rebuild, blight will continue to be an issue. The Smith family isn’t the only family looking to the suburbs for safer living, but many families want what’s best for the generations ahead and feel that cities in the suburbs are what’s best at this time.

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Posted in Family Stories

Dion Shepherd Jr. Talks About 60 Days In and What’s Next

Dion Shepherd Jr. a 25-year-old Detroit native talks about his time in jail and how he plans to make a difference not only in his community but the world around him. Dion’s ambitious personality have gotten him far in just a short period of time, working with Dog the Bounty Hunter his senior year of college, to being a participant on A&E’s new original series 60 Day’s In.

Shepherd obtained his undergrad degree in Criminal Justice from Western Michigan University. There he was a counselor for troubled youth and did all kinds of work outside of his internship with Dog the Bounty Hunter in his field of criminal justice. Becoming bored and wanting more for himself, Shepard moved to California to pursue bigger opportunities. He went to graduate school at the University of California Irvine getting a masters in Criminal Law and Society, but first making his appearance on the show 60 Days In as a part of his master’s thesis project.

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Dion at the turning point for himself on 60 Days In. Photo still taken by: A&E digital production team

Being from the city of Detroit, Shepherd thought that jail wouldn’t be so bad based upon the things he run into on the streets from day to day. “The main goal was to stay focused and not crack, the living conditions in jail is nothing like being on the outside,” said Shepherd. “This went from being an internship I was looking into on the website, to them asking me if I wanted to be a part of the show and it worked for me because of my master’s thesis.” A project rejected twice by the university became a learning experience for Dion and others around him, often people take advantage of their freedom, or are not aware of conditions that people go through in jail, the amount of security and even the hygiene issues.

“I am very proud of my son, there are many other things that he could have done, or many other paths but he chose this. I was not sure what he was getting himself into but being his mom all I could do was support him, now the jail thing I thought was a lot, but seeing how it has motivated him now and where he is, I am just so happy and proud to be his mother,” said Kendra Grier.

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Dion Shepherd Jr. Photo taken by: Thomas Pierson Photography

Along with starting his own consulting company Elaio Properties, Shepard is currently studying for the graduate record exam so that he can become a post-graduate student at Stanford University. He is also starting a panel discussion series called Millennium Surviving and Thriving which will focus on social justice issues among millennials. “I was able to find a great mentor in Dr. Waymen Rodgers and I want to be that for other young men,” say’s Shepherd. Dion’s season of 60 Days In has ended but it is available on A&E on demand.

Posted in PAL/AYF League

Bates Talks Plans for Future in Football

JaVari Bates opens up about football, his college opportunities and plans on career in the NFL. Since the original story about how Detroit PAL and AYF football saved him from the streets, he is now making plans on his future in football. This past football season was his first as a player for his school’s football team. Currently he is a Detroit Cody Comet and plays safety and wide receiver. Bates took a hard hit early on in the season and became injured causing him to have only played in five games, averaging 3 tackles per game.

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JaVari Bates and little brother Atiba Jr. Photo taken by: Whitney Bryan

“Right now I am trying to talk my mother into letting me work, she is not having it. I keep telling her that I need my own money. She would rather me work hard and get into college, so I’ll do that for her and make her proud, but after a couple of years I have to try and go pro,” says Bates.

Bates is just 15 years old and has already started getting letters from colleges. He has been scouted by The University of Delaware, Lincoln Nebraska, and The University of Colorado. He is very excited to have offers and plan to work hard in hopes to have letters from Boise State or Wisconsin. Currently Bates is running the 200-meter dash to stay conditioned for his upcoming football season and hopefully get his 4.4 40-yard dash time to a faster speed. His plans are to play college football for two years and then enter the draft to start a cash revenue.

Posted in Family Stories

Great Weather and Clear Sky’s lead Detroiters to Meridian Winter Blast

Meridian Winter Blast is back in the city of Detroit January 20-22 and many Metro-Detroiters are making their way to Campus-Martius Park to get in on all the fun. For the 12th time, the Winter Blast has brought many people in the city of Detroit and surrounding area’s together for a weekend of fun. The main attraction this year is the Meridian Winter Slide, this giant slide is not only 30 feet in the air but it offers two different options the 40 and 30-degree angle drops. Along with the slide Winter Blast has an ice rink for free skating, live music inside, games, and much more.

Meridian Winter Blast, formerly known as Motown Winter Blast, started in January 2005 as an official countdown for the Super Bowl. That year the turnout was amazing for the event, with hundreds of thousands of people Downtown, the sponsors decided to make it an annual event.

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Smurfette and Clumsy making their way through Winter Blast putting smiles on everyones faces. Photo taken by: Whitney Bryan

“Detroit is beautiful, there’s so many people down here and I am very grateful to be able to bring my son down here so that he can get out and see things that we don’t get to see everyday. He is really enjoying this slide, and I want to take him over to the ice rink. I have never been so I am trying to get everything in today and then maybe we will go over to the auto show,” says Tonya Battle a first time visitor.

The North American International Auto Show is one of the sponsors of Winter Blast and is teaming up to make sure that the city of Detroit has a great weekend. Due to this being the last weekend for the auto show the NAIAS and Meridian Winter Blast is making it simple and people are able to get in Winter Blast for free with an NAIAS stamp on their hand.

The last day to enjoy this great event and the auto show is Sunday January 22nd at 9 p.m. For more information on the Meridian Winter Blast such as parking and admissions visit their website.

Posted in Family Stories

North American International Auto Show 2017

The North American International Auto Show 2017 draws over 100,000 people on January 14, 2017 with some of the biggest revels yet. Detroit has been home of the auto show for over a century, being “the motor city” and each year the show gets bigger and better. Although states hold their own auto shows throughout the year, the NAIAS is number one with people not only traveling across the country to attend, but around the world. This year the bar was set high with many different concept cars being introduced only in Detroit. The biggest was the bat-mobile made entirely of Lego’s which instead of being reveled during press week, it made its debut on opening day.

KIA sets up many displays with fatheads from the movie Sing. Video taken by Whitney Bryan

Since the very first auto show in 1907, Detroit has been able to wow people all across the world. In 1987 the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) decided that the show was capable of reaching a higher audience and the show went international. Since that year the show went international press from around the world have brought a different audience to the show. This year’s show automaker’s made sure to out due themselves with the revels and concept cars. Of all the one that stole the show was the bat-mobile made of Lego’s. The Cadillac Escala and the Lincoln Navigator concepts were also crowd pleasers.

Vernon Maxwell checks out the great feature of this all new SUV. Video taken by Whitney Bryan

The auto show is a safe event for people all around the world. Hotels downtown and in the surrounding metro area love this time of year due to all of the travelers. Alongside Uber and Lyft there are shuttles and bus service taking patrons to and from the event. For more information on event such as ticket prices, show times, rules and more visit www.naias.com.

Posted in Family Stories

Downtown Plymouth Draws Huge Crowd for Plymouth Ice Fest 17

Residents from all over Michigan are expected to pack Kellogg Park for the 35th annual Plymouth Ice Festival on January 6th through 8th. The organizers of the event expect over 100,000 visitors this year due to weather being a lot better than previous years, and the increase in sponsorship. The Festival draws more than just a crowd to the park for the sculptures, it’s also great for the many small businesses that surround the area. The festival is throughout downtown causing people to stop in local business not only to grab a few seconds of heat, but also to shop. With people visiting from all over Michigan the local business become exposed and gain new revenue.

“This is awesome” says Avielle Kimble, “I have never been to anything like this before and honestly I didn’t know what to expect with it being so cold but I was fun and I am looking forward to maybe making this an annual tradition for me and my boo.”

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Self Titled Sculpture: Plymouth Ice Festival 2017. Photo Credits: Whitney Bryan

An ice company delivers 400 separate 300 pound blocks of ice to create the fine sculptures that are on display each year. 35-40 ice sculptors as well as college students and people from outside of Michigan get together and carve sculptures that are inspired by business, sports, and life events. Not only are their sculptures but there are hands on activities and give-a-ways that everyone can enjoy, and the walking is also great exercise.

“This is something I look forward to bringing my children to when I have them. It seems that all of the kids out here are enjoying themselves, and as cold as it is outside you’d think they would complain but instead they are running around and having fun,” says Kimble.

The last day to enjoy the festival for the 2017 season is January 8 and the event closes at 6pm. Plymouth public safety is asking that everyone please follow the rules and clear the park out at closing so that the sculptures can be removed. If you don’t get a chance to make the festival some of the ice will still be on display throughout downtown. For more information on this event and others going on in the area, visit the city of Plymouth’s official website.

Posted in Family Stories

Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries: Leading the Community in Outreach and Support

The Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries facilitates many shelters for people that battle addiction, are homeless, and also assist the community with proper help and recourses. During this bitter cold season DRMM also operates warming centers and soup kitchens, helping the less fortunate residents of the community. For 107 years DRMM have established and provided residential treatment services, long and short term housing, food banks as well as spiritual guidance for residents of the city of Detroit and of surrounding communities.

Roxanne Dukes is one of many residents that sought assistance from Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries and have been successful through the program. DRMM may not be able to meet the needs of everyone and if they can’t, the staff will assist with getting the information that the resident is looking for. The organization plans to make a difference in the community by opening multiple centers and making them easy to access for the people seeking the assistance. Anyone can walk in at any-time for assistance, the program is non-referral making it easy for people to make the decision to want to change their life on their own.

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Roxanne Dukes at work for Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries. Photo by: Whitney Bryan

“The struggle is real, and a lot of people don’t realize. I like the ladies that I work with because we all have been down different roads. It is very refreshing to be able to help somebody especially knowing the situation first hand.” says Roxanne Dukes who is a previous client of the ministry that now works at one of the women’s shelter.

Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries is growing and expanding to communities outside of the Detroit/Highland Park area. Residents in Macomb and Washtenaw counties will have centers available there to walk in and receive assistance soon. DRMM encourages people in the community to support in any way possible. Gently used clean clothes and toiletries can be dropped off at any location as well as toys/books for children. Volunteer work is also encouraged, to volunteer at DRMM sign up on the website today.

Posted in Family Stories

Michigan Museums Expect More Families for Upcoming Winter Season

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Popular Detroit museums will draw in more families now that the snow is coming. Detroit is known for more than sports, there is a rich history in art and ancestry and is also known as “The Motor City” around the country. The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Historical Museums, Michigan Science Center, and Hitsville USA are some of the popular museums in the city and they are looking forward to drawing in the family crowd now that the weather has changed.

The newly renovated Detroit Historical Museum puts Detroiters in awe with not only their exhibits that allows you to walk down the old streets of Detroit, but admission is free and parking is a nominal fee. Admission is also free for the DIA but there is a slight charge for the Michigan Science Center because of all of the hands of activities. The three of these museums are all in walking distance of each other sharing practically the same hours of operation.

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Captured by Whitney Bryan

“I was trying to figure out what my son and I could do today because I didn’t want to be trapped in the house and it’s cold, so I started thinking about inexpensive indoor activities” says Stiger. “I quickly thought about my museum membership and how I have been meaning to check out the Sebastian S. Kresge room because a friend of mine used a picture of a statue in one of her case studies and I’ve been wanting to come and read the history and see more.”

With this being the first weekend of snowfall for the upcoming winter season, employees are starting to look forward to the crowds especially on the weekends. It’s something that is considered safe, affordable, and the visitors will leave with a lot of new information. Studies show that families that engage in safe activities together are less likely to be involved in crime.