Rizzo be praised
No matter where you drove in Royal Oak during and just after that storm (those storms?) Rizzo was there.
Occasionally, they had to block a street for a few minutes by positioning their truck diagonally across the road so they could load large furniture and shelves from the rear. Their trucks filled rapidly and the line of trucks was long at the dump.
They displayed patience and understanding toward everything from unavoidable traffic disruptions to the need for some neighbors to ignore official trash pickup days to place water-ruined furnishings and possessions at the curb.
Praise Mayor Ellison & City Hall for maintaining a steady flow of information during it all. I was told of a handful of complaints from residents who didn't like the telephone behavior of city workers, but some dissatisfaction is inevitable during sustained stressful events like hundreds of flooded basements.That damned Dream Cruise
No one who lives within earshot of Woodward Avenue can remain neutral about Dream Cruise Saturday. In addition to the noise, there is the intrusion of strangers who park in adjacent neighborhoods, take folding chairs out of their trunk, and walk over to Woodward to gape for a couple of hours.
Yet, despite not being a car-lover myself, I stand at Lincoln and Woodward for perhaps an hour each year and enjoy the rare classic or somehow unusual car which passes.
It's been, what, 20 years and there have been neither serious accidents nor obstructions for emergency vehicles. The report below is provided by the Police Department.
2014 Woodward Dream Cruise
Five (5) arrests in Royal Oak related to Dream Cruise on Saturday, August 16th
· One (1) for Operating While Impaired
· One (1) for Tampering with an Automobile
· One (1) forPossession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and
Minor in Possession of Alcohol
· One (1) for Malicious Destruction of Property
· One (1) for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
There were no arrests made on Friday, August 15th
Attendance was estimated at 1.2 million
“Cruise In Shoes” 5k run/walk had approximately 1,400 participants
That damned booze debate
The exchanges of emails between and among city commissioners, the mayor, and the police chief related to alcohol licenses in downtown Royal Oak are just convoluted enough to confuse the situation for those of us not following closely. Here are examples:
Police Chief Corrigan O'Donohue to City Commission and some City Staff
Currently we have 63 on-premise
licenses, five of which are in
escrow. On-premise is any
location that allows alcohol to
be consumed on site, Class C's,
Clubs, Bistros etc.
We also have 41 off-premise licenses, not all of which can sell liquor. Some can only sell beer and wine.
Commissioner Peggy Goodwin to Versagi Voice
Density of liquor licenses is an issue for the police in making their recommendation for BWW. I asked how many liquor licenses we have and of the 64, aren’t the majority downtown? With the addition of Jenuwine’s license, we have 64 on premise, and 41 off premise. With the transfer of Fiddlehead’s to BWW, and the opening of B-Spot, two came out of escrow at the last meeting.
Fifteen Public Comment speakers sort of dominated this city commission meeting, expressing diverse concerns: truck route, or not, on Knowles; trucks cutting through Mohawk area; flooded streets "even in a normal rain"; excessive promotion of more booze downtown; screaming teenagers downtown (at 2 a.m.?); business owner wants to own a street; overall situation in the South End, with its 40-foot lots is improving?
Liquor licenses once again dominated discussions about downtown. Nothing new. Apparently one is either pro or anti alcohol. There's no middle ground. One plea: "Don't use all available space for alcohol-serving businesses." Indeed, CITCOM voted to approve another booze joint at Fifth and Main, against the recommendation of Police Chief Corrigan O'Donohue.
Two comments stand out:
"Downtown used to be interesting."
"The police have become the private security force for the bars."
Excerpt from Detroit Free Press
Whither Downtown Royal Oak?
Long considered one of suburban Detroit’s most successful shopping, eating and drinking destinations, downtown Royal Oak is experiencing a proliferation this year of vacant storefronts that has people nervous..
Among merchants and civic leaders, there are worries that downtown’s collection of eclectic retailers is getting swallowed up by restaurants and bars.
There are now over a dozen closed storefronts blotting Main Street in downtown and another half-dozen vacancies on and around nearby South Washington Avenue.
Most of the closings have happened in the past seven months and involved Royal Oak retail mainstays such as Ariana Gallery (there for 26 years), Elie Wine (20 years), the shoe store Footprints (34 years), apparel shop Incognito (31 years) and trendy vintage shop Paris Antiques (15 years).
“Everybody’s kind of saying the same thing where we’re tired of struggling,” said Paris’ owner Katrina Bray, who plans to close her shop next weekend and relocate to Detroit’s trendy Midtown area next year. “We are moving to Midtown because that just seems to be where all the young people are going.”
There are concerns that Royal Oak’s thriving nightlife could be crowding out the daytime retailers, as several shops have folded amid a desire by landlords to raise rents to prices closer to that of popular eateries and bistros.
“There could be some speculation among some property owners waiting for the next bar to come in,” said Jay Dunstan, chairman of the Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority.
The vacancies aren’t limited to former mom-and-pop shops. There have been departures as well by national chains including Cold Stone Creamery, Caribou Coffee and Barnes & Noble, which shuttered its two-story Main Street store in April.
For example, the vacant Barnes & Noble superstore will soon have its top floor filled by tech company Vectorform and a Buffalo . . .
Don't I remember that you used to report on DDA meetings and the Zoning group and Planning?
You have a good memory.
Two factors pertain: (1) Almost always, decisions made at other than City Commission meetings are passed along as recommendations, and CITCOM, which I cover, makes the final decision. ( 2) I recognize that readers enjoy my comments about how the panelists interact with each other, but other obligations prevent me from spending as much time as I used to covering official gatherings.
18 August CITCOM Meeting
In terms of business accomplished, this meeting could have been over in half an hour -- 13 Public Comment speakers aside. Many of those speakers addressed the basement flooding problems experienced by 40-50 percent of Royal Oak residences. One speaker was a chronic bitcher, this time complaining about the commission's overall "lack of transparency" and "inattentiveness." A pastor described his church's efforts to provide help to senior or disabled residents.
When the most intense moment of a meeting is when Commissioner Jeremy Mahrle announces that it is "disgraceful" that the city has yet to make it possible to use a credit card in its parking structures, one realizes the group could have stayed home.
About actions that the city might take to reduce flooding problems, City Manager Don Johnson described the policy of selectively placing restricted drains to deliberately flood streets to protect against basement flooding. And Mayor Jim Ellison announced that the city has already retained a contractor to review the entire situation, past and present.
Ellison, by the way, kept his cool when one irate woman loudly blamed him, without specifics, for what he did and what he didn't do about something or other.
And the meeting reminded us all that -- booze
aside -- parking availability and cost can start more arguments than any
other topic when more than two Royal Oakers discuss downtown.
Were we better off
before Snyder became governor?
How much difference does it make who is governor -- or president, for that matter?
Do external events make the man or does the man create external events?
Were we better off before Snyder became governor?
Going national, would today's civic/political environment cause any occupant of the White House to be as ineffective as is its current resident?
If Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great or Napoleon or Hitler hadn't emerged as world figures, would the tone of their times have brought forth someone similar to fill each slot?
Historians and philosophers have pondered that for centuries. And they remain split.
That leads to the very practical decision about whether to vote by party (philosophical preference) or vote by individual (the belief that individuals, not philosophical movements, make history).
How many times have we heard something like, "On any close vote in the legislature, I want my guy voting my party line."
There are those people -- too many, I think -- who insist that the official they voted for must always represent the party line, must never compromise. That mindset makes no room for the real world fact that our representative's environment may expose her to information and opinions which are unknown to us.
Ah, the hazards which emerge when Town Hall decision-making is no longer feasible and must be replaced by representative government.
Detroit Rail progress
The $140 million public-private streetcar project under construction on Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit took delivery of the first mile of steel rail last week from Pittsburgh-based rail products manufacturer L.B. Foster Co.
Problems, what problems?
Quickly, which national or international headlines from a week ago do you remember?
Understandably, we forget those headlines in a day or two unless they dealt with an issue or person or organization about which we care.
As an extreme example, most of us will soon have forgotten the name of the black youth whose shooting by police generated a riot or two in a city whose name we will also have to look up next week. So it goes with news about immigration or Wall Street or Silicon Valley or whatever.
About most that goes on in the world, the majority of us are, mentally, 40-foot citizens -- in terms of time as well as of distance. Hence, it is meaningless and futile to wonder aloud, "How can you not care about . . . ?"
There are exceptions to that generalization: Some people become so caught up with a cause that they measure the significance of all news in terms of its relation, or not, to that cause.
What force holds asteroids
One of the most infamous near-Earth asteroids is held together by forces other than just gravity and friction. Researchers have found that asteroid (29075) 1950 DA is a loose blob of particles that clot together much as Moon dust collects on astronauts’ spacesuits.
Any mission to divert an asteroid on a collision course with Earth would need to take these newfound cohesive forces into account, suggest the findings, published in Nature on August 14. This means that gently nudging an asteroid onto a new trajectory is potentially a safer option than blasting it to smithereens, Armageddon-style.
“You’d want to avoid interacting with the asteroid directly,” says Ben Rozitis, a planetary scientist at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and a co-author of the study.
Researchers have suspected that undetected cohesive forces help to hold some asteroids together — especially ‘rubble-pile’ asteroids, which are agglomerations of dirt and rock. Some of these rotate slowly enough for the gravitational attraction between the particles to hold them together. But for faster-spinning asteroids, centrifugal forces would overwhelm the gravitational pull and rip the rocks apart.
The fast-spinning 1950 DA will pass close by Earth in the year 2880. At one point, the odds of its hitting Earth were estimated to be as high as 1 in 300, but more recent observations have lowered that risk to 1 in 4,000.
Using information about how sunlight nudges the rock through space, along with measurements of its shape and the thermal properties of its surface, Rozitis and his team calculated its density. The rock turned out to be surprisingly lightweight, at just 1.7 times the density of water. That implied that the 1.3-kilometer-wide rock contains a lot of empty space, making it one of the rubble-pile group, Rozitis says.
If 1950 DA is a rubble-pile asteroid, then something more than gravitational attraction must be holding it together as it spins around. Calculations suggest it could spin no faster than about once every 2.2 hours if it were held together by gravity alone, but the asteroid goes faster than that, once every 2.1 hours. The researchers calculated that cohesive forces, exerting no more pressure than a coin resting in the palm of a hand, must be at work.
Understanding such forces could be important for NASA’s plan to drag an asteroid into lunar orbit to study it, or for commercial companies that claim they plan to mine asteroids, says Daniel Scheeres, an aerospace engineer at the University of Colorado Boulder.
The forces would also be important if an asteroid were discovered to be heading towards Earth. One leading strategy to deflect it is a ‘gravity tractor’, a spacecraft that would fly alongside the asteroid, using its gravitational to pull the rock onto a new trajectory. Such an approach would be preferable to blasting the asteroid apart, says Rozitis, because nobody knows exactly how the cohesion would affect how the fragments blast apart.
“I just hope that an asteroid on a collision course with Earth will not be spinning rapidly and it will not be a rubble-pile asteroid,” says Bong Wie, an aerospace engineer at Iowa State University in Ames. -- Scientific American