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Detroit News Roundup for Monday and Tuesday July 9-10, 2007

Commuter train rolling for dollars — State boosts Howell-to-Ann …

The state has guaranteed another $1.4 million for a proposed Howell-to-Ann-Arbor commuter train line that supporters say is necessary to combat congestion on U.S. 23.

The new grant from the Michigan Department of Trans-portation was announced Monday at a meeting where supporters were talking about receiving a $150,000 contribution from the Livingston County Board of Commissioners.

The budget also predicts that the rail service will prevent the need for city of Ann Arbor to build 800 parking spaces, at a cost savings of $35,000 for each spot. Commissioner Jack LaBelle asked Cicchella if those figures were correct, and on hearing they were, calculated that the city would save more than $28 million.

It looks like the goal for the rail line is to get 1500 riders during rush hour but what 1700 are expected to ride.
[via Livingston Daily]

Funds for Michigan sought in Congress

Rep. John Conyers, a Detroit Democrat, already has received House approval for $200,000 for the nonprofit Detroit Renaissance and its plans to cluster the city’s music, art, architecture and fashion firms along Woodward Avenue, with the aim of creating a district that attracts more business.

Democrats are in the majority, and the majority tends to get about 60 percent of earmarks.

Michigan has more Democrats in leadership positions than it does Republicans, such as Sen. Carl Levin, the Detroit Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He got millions of dollars worth of defense projects included in an authorization bill coming up before the Senate this week, including $184 million for research in Warren on combat vehicle and automotive technologies.

[via Lansing State Journal]

What Michigan lawmakers want

$2.9 million for the Great Lakes Energy Research Park in Alma; $2.8 million for Ann Arbor Transportation Authority Transit Center;

Just some (more) of the earmarks knowingly requested which sound good for Michigan.
[via Detroit Free Press]

Huntington Bank steps up with $7.5M for Detroit Renaissance VC fund

Rebecca Smith, president of the Troy-based eastern region of Huntington Bank, will announce today that the bank is making the first institutional investment in a $100 million venture-capital fund announced last month by Detroit Renaissance Inc. to spur innovation and help emerging companies grow.

The bank will invest up to $7.5 million. The first $5 million is contingent on the fund raising $50 million. The remaining $2.5 million will be given when the fund hits $75 million.

This is what Detroit and the whole region needs more of, venture capital. And like the RiverWalk it’s going to take diverse interests contributing and risking a piece to get the first $50 million together.
[via Model D]

Roundup: What’s new all over town

In Hamtramck, a national restaurant chain called Johnny’s Lunch — an old-fashioned diner, complete with red hots, sliders and shakes — will open a location in the Towne Center shopping plaza at Jos. Campau and Holbrook. Johnny’s is currently located in Toledo and Jamestown, NY; the Hamtramck location is one of six planned for Michigan.

Kumon Math and Reading Center has opened in Mexicantown’s Lithuanian Hall. The 1,500-square foot center offers remedial and advanced tutoring for students from pre-school to high school. Visit 3750 W. Vernor Highway or call 248-290-0450 x257.

Further Southwest, the National City bank branch at W. Vernor and Dragoon has opened its doors to the public.

Also, a new clothing store called Rock & Soul in New Center, on Woodward just south of Grand Boulevard
[via Model D]

Jay-Z Gets Dissed, Madonna Finds a New Muse, Foxy Brown Goes Missing

Today in Detroit, rap legends Kurtis Blow and Eric B. will attend the funeral of their former friend, the “N” word. The mock burial is just one of the many hip-hop-centric events taking place at the 98th annual NAACP convention. Yesterday, NAACP chairman Julian Bond took umbrage with Jay-Z, saying, “I heard somebody say that when Jay-Z talks about ho’s, he gets a gold record. When Don Imus talks about ho’s, he gets fired. We believe in equal justice and equal justice for everyone.”
Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hutz will take his collaboration with Madonna from the Live Earth stage to the Sundance Film Festival as he stars in the Material Mom’s directorial debut, Filth & Wisdom. Meanwhile, Madonna’s f-bomb dropping on the Wembley stage pissed off 123 sensitive Brits.

Can we bury Madonna’s fake British accent as well? Then she can stop pretending she didn’t grow up in the northern suburbs of Detroit.
[via Rolling Stone]

Ann Arbor closes on greenbelt purchase

The city of Ann Arbor closed its sixth deal under the greenbelt program for the purchase of development rights for a 70-acre easement in Northfield Township.

The city paid $1,015,000 for the development rights purchase and received $335,000 from a federal grant to help cover the costs. The land is owned by John and Beverly Alexander.

The greenbelt program was approved by voters in November 2003 to provide funding to protect open space inside and outside the city limits. It is a 1/2-mill tax for 30 years.

It’s been almost 4 years since Ann Arbor voted for its greenbelt program but so far this is only the sixth purchase of land. On the one hand, six parcels of land were prevented from being developed into suburbia, but on the other hand much more land continued to be converted into sprawl.
[via Ann Arbor News]

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