I was out of town this weekend my love of travelling nearly dashed. I flew out of Detroit Metropolitan Airport as I have many a time, but this time I was met with some outrageous prices. Booking my ticket online was painful enough but understandable given inflated fuel costs. Then realizing that I had to pay to check my luggage was some more salt in the wound. I would have been able to take my backpack if not for the 3-1-1 rule of airborne liquids. I know next time to just take my glasses and buy contact lens solution at my final destination given that checking one bag each way put me back $30 on Northwest. Driving is usually the easiest method to get to the airport. The bus is the cheapest, and not unpleasant in the least if you have an hour and a half to get downtown. As I was driving towards the airport my blood was boiling. The Blue Deck is now proudly advertised at the reasonable $10.00/day and boasts the advantage of being a covered lot. However, all other parking lots on the airport campus are also charging $10.00 per day. Where is the value? Also, only three years ago the price was $6 and it has been slowly creeping up dollar by dollar. Not understandable. How does the price of fuel affect a parking structure? Fine, I suppose some expenses go up to operate the shuttles. Either way, it seems that air travel will soon only be reserved for the rich so I had better get all my travelling in now or get rich really soon to maintain my habit.
That’s right, if you don’t register to vote by October 6, then you will not have a vote in this year’s election.
Today, I attended a volunteer training session at Obama HQ* in Detroit (near the Fisher Building) to help canvass for voter registration.
I was shocked to hear from our Field Organizer that there are almost 180,000 eligible but unregistered voters in Detroit. That’s a lot of people!
But registering to vote is extremely easy. Here are a few ways:
1. Print out this form, and send it in to the Secretary of State. All the information you need is there, but please be sure to fill out the form completely or else your registration may be thrown out.
2. Contact your local Obama headquarters (see a list here) and ask for a voter registration form to be sent to you. They will be sure to get you a voter registration form and may deliver one personally.
3. Register to vote with one of the many volunteers out there with clipboards full of blank registration forms. You’ll find us (for I am one of them) at local festivals or knocking door to door, outside of grocery stores and churches and banks. Be nice to us. We’re just trying to do our part for America.
And if you’re already registered to vote, take 10 minutes of your time to email your friends or call your family to ask if they’re registered to vote. You may be surprised to learn that they aren’t registered.
Here are a few other facts about voter registration: (more…)
I absolutely adore my haven in the sky overlooking the city and river; however, it would be delightful to own some soil to till. The MI Toolkit seems like a really good place to start. The Toolkit, counter-intuitively, is an event versus an impersonal package of literature and glossy promises. The MI City Home Toolkit is a recurring event one Sunday of each month through October. Each event focuses on a given area/neighbourhood. The first is scheduled for Sunday, June 8, 2008 and focuses on “the Villages,” for which I will be taking some time out of the Festival of Arts to attend. These events appear to be free but you have to register. Per the website these events will feature home-buying and ownership experts (realtors, contractors, mortgage brokers) and will feature home-buying incentives such as NEZ property tax discounts and historic tax credits.
Ditching one’s car in the Motor City takes some serious mental preparation. It is an automatic reaction to grab for your keys if you need to go to the pharmacy or grocery store. I have done so many a time only to realize that the taking People Mover ($0.50/ride) or walking (free and healthy) would be less infuriating as the city fills with summer visitors. This increased saturation means that the only parking available is from some shady person for $20 attending a field-passed-off-as-a-lot that clearly is not his/her property. There are many non-shady options, but they too are ridiculously expensive. I have turned right back around many times to the only parking I could find downtown – back at home. The just shy of $4/gallon gas prices helps the process of ditching keys right along. Bottom line: try something different – walk, bike, skateboard, rollerblade, Segway, rent a tandem-bike from Wheelhouse – because the cost of driving and parking are not going down any time soon.
This week is national volunteer week, and United Way for Southeastern Michigan is celebrating with their annual Recognize Volunteers event, which culminates with a recognition ceremony and several awards for volunteers in different categories. Head over to UWSEM’s website to vote for your favorite volunteer in each category.
I work with quite a few volunteers and make sure to nominate each year for this event. It’s a really great celebration that honors those who provide much needed services around Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. This is the first time that voting has been open to the public.
Zaccaro’s Market, a gourmet grocer of the Whole Food/Trader Joe type, opens today at its Midtown location at Woodward and Watson. Providing fresh and locally grown organic foods, fine wines and liquors, and an excellent variety of pre-prepared, healthy foods, the market is a welcome addition and is sure to be at capacity level from open to close for some time.
Happy gourmandizing, Detroit!
This week’s Metro Times cover story by Curt Guyette, “The Big Burn: America’s largest garbage incinerator and the movement to shut it down,” is both a must read and a call-to-arms for all Detroiters, both metro and suburban.
It is both absolutely ridiculous and sadly typical that Detroit has the country’s largest incinerator, and even more ridiculous and typical that the city officials who have the power to move the city in a new, more environmentally sustainable direction are leaning toward keeping this monstrosity (I’m looking right at you, Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams!). Detroit needs a challenge, and reducing our waste by making recycling the law (that’s right, the law) in Detroit is a great start. With a vigorous recycling program and more education regarding environmental and health issues, the choice won’t need to be between an incinerator and landfills. The answer will be a better life for Detroit and the surrounding area–environmentally and economically.
We could utilize the sage advice and experience from the good folks at Recy-clean in this challenge. In fact, you can start by going to see them regularly at 1331 Holden with these items at the following times:
Oh, and that $600-$1200 you’ll be getting from old mother Bush this May, it wouldn’t hurt to make a donation to this and other great Detroit non-profit organizations who do a bunch of great things for you for free.
I made my joyous return to Detroit this week, after heading south expecting warmth and instead having to buy up Florida’s supply of sweatshirts, and was re-introduced to my least favorite thing about metro Detroit.
Scandal? Nope! Gas prices.
After forking over a big percentage of my paycheck at the pump, I realized that my measly 7 mile drive to my office is far (far!) less than most people have to travel. I polled some co-workers who live out in exurbia and they admitted to having to fill up every three or so days. At time, this amounted to about two days pay per week! I’m amazed that people out there are working just to be able to afford to drive to work!
I’m blessed with having a bus station right at the end of my street as well as right across from my office. Last summer, when gas prices hit $3.50, I went out an bought a bus pass. I loved not having to weave around traffic, got to read a book while someone else drove, and really fell in love with what little public transportation we have here in Detroit. While I’m kind of a baby about the cold and don’t want to trek even the couple yards to the bus stop, I’m more of a cheapskate than anything else, which means – come tomorrow? Look for me on the Woodward bus. I’ll be the one with the smile on my face, and a book in my lap.
The Woodhouse Day Spa is located on Woodward at Merchants Row. This location is actually a franchise with the happy coincidence of sharing its root with its street name. This fancy subterranean spa was a delightful escape, as any spa should be; however, it had the additional bonus of making you forget that you dropped a good sum on its services.
Getting in was a little difficult as the buzzer was acting up; however, on my way out a second receptionist was posted on ground level. I was whisked down under Woodward where I was greeted by serene dark wood floors and an overwhelming amount of attention from the receptionist.
I was instructed to lock all my belongings in a wooden cabinet and slipped into a cushy robe and some not so fancy but ergonomic slippers. I was then taken to the “Quiet Room” where the receptionist introduced the tea she picked out for me – a fragrant peach in case you were wondering. The “Quiet Room” was lovely with its overstuffed, oversized, damask furniture set on faded Persian rugs. An Asian influence also ran through the dimly lit room. There was a selection of magazines; however, Hour Detroit was not included in the collection even though the magazine had named the Woodhouse best spa. My technician found me wandering the halls – quite embarrassing as she was supposed to fetch me from the Quiet Room – as my inability to relax caused me to be the ridiculous person who wanders after what seemed like too long.
The entire experience was wonderful, including fetching my car from the complimentary valet at the structure with a car lift next door. A week after my visit I received a Thank You card with an offer of 10% off my next visit for me and a guest. I am about to book my next visit.